Is Ilunga on the way out?

Does Avram Grant’s preference for first Danny Gabbidon and then Tal Ben Haim at left back, mean that Herita Ilunga is on the way out of Upton Park?

WEST HAM defender Herita Ilunga’s days may be numbered at Upton Park after manager Avram Grant ignored his claims for a starting place on Saturday at Wolves.

With Matty Upson pulling out on the morning of the match, Grant was left with the prospect of reshuffling his pack with Danny Gabbidon being moved from left back into the centre of defence.

But instead of promoting Ilunga from the bench, the West Ham boss opted to play another central defender in Tal Ben Haim in the left back position.

Congo international Ilunga, 28, (right) was heralded as one of West Ham’s brightest players in his first season at the club after signing from French club Toulouse, initially on a season-long loan.

The defender was snapped up for a bargain �2million in the summer of 2009, but since then he has been beset by injury problems.

Last season he made 16 league starts, but never found the form he had shown previously, while this term he has played in four matches.

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Ben Haim was a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up at Molineux, but he impressed with his composed defensive play and his ability to get forward – something that has been lacking in Ilunga’s play since his injury.

The Israeli even combined with Freddie Piquionne for the last-minute goal that was cruelly chalked off by referee Mark Clattenburg.

Grant will want to strengthen his squad in January and Ilunga could be the man to make way.

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