West Ham striker could be out until March
PUBLISHED: 11:00 23 December 2016
Hammers boss Slaven Bilic has revealed that Diafra Sakho has had an operation on his troublesome back
West Ham have been given an unwelcome Christmas present this week with the news that striker Diafra Sakho could be out until March through injury.
The Senegal international striker, who turns 27 on Christmas Eve, limped off with a thigh injury against Manchester United at Old Trafford, but it is a long-standing injury that has proved the problem.
“Sakho had to have an operation on his back and he is going to be out for at least six to eight weeks,” said manager Slaven Bilic at his press conference ahead of the Boxing Day clash with Swansea.
“He is definitely out of the Africa Cup of Nations. It may be even 10 weeks, so we are talking about maybe March for him to be fit again.
“It is frustrating. He was out at the beginning of the season for a long time and when he came back he played at Spurs and Man United and we saw how much impact he made, so it is a big blow for us.”
West Ham fly to Wales on Christmas Day to prepare for the clash against Swansea City, but they will do so without midfield man Pedro Obiang, who is suspended.
“It is a blow, he is playing good,” said Bilic about the Spaniard.
“He is very important for us to get that balance in the team and those kind of players are like a metronome for a piano, they are setting the rhythm for the team.
“It’s a blow, but in that position we have a few players that can fill it and we expect not to feel it that much in this game.”
Havard Nordtveit or Edimilson Fernandes are the likely candidates to fill the role, though there is also a chance of Cheikhou Kouyate coming out of defence to play in midfield.
After seeing his side take seven points in a week to climb to 13th place, Bilic is looking for that to continue.
“The morale was always good, that is why we got seven points from the last three games,” said Bilic.
“Of course, the mood is better now, we have climbed the table and I expect us to play with more confidence than before.
“It is very important to build on what weve done. The performance against Hull was not the best, but we won and it was crucial.
“Now we approach the next couple of games with much more confidence and I expect us to get something from both Swansea and Leicester City.”
Andy Carroll will continue up front and has a superb record against the Swans, scoring five goals against them for West Ham, though he was sent off in one of those fixtures.
But with the Swansea defence looking decidedly dodgy, he will look to take full advantage.