West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini has admitted that he faces a selection dilemma ahead of his team’s match against Southampton, as the club’s injury crisis continues to worsen.
Mexican striker Javier Hernandez is a major doubt for the game at St. Mary’s with a hamstring injury, whilst defender Fabian Balbuena is expected to miss out.
The Austrian forward has scored five goals this season for West Ham and is a key player for Pellegrini’s side.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Pellegrini revealed the scale of the injury crisis at the London Stadium, admitting that: “Unfortunately for us we have eight players without the option to return soon. Maybe Marko Arnautovic can – I don’t know about against Southampton, but soon.
“We need now to see about the other two players, Chicharito (Hernandez) and Balbuena. So that is a big problem but we need to trust the squad and try to make a good rotation.
“Javier had a kick in his back during the week. He couldn’t work. Now in this game (against Watford) he had the same problem with some strain in his hamstring.”
The Irons have suffered from several injuries to some of their most influential squad members with the likes of Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere and Andriy Yarmolenko all facing lengthy spells on the sidelines.
Yet despite the unavailability of so many players in recent weeks, West Ham have experienced an upturn in form, winning four of their last five games.
A victory over a resurgent Southampton side on Thursday could see the Irons move up to as high as eighth in the Premier League.