West Ham boss considers changes for Burnley trip
PUBLISHED: 08:00 17 October 2014 | UPDATED: 09:20 17 October 2014
2014 Getty Images
Mark Noble is back in the squad, while Enner Valencia’s fitness is being assessed before the trip to Turf Moor on Saturday
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has a tough selection headache as he looks for back-to-back wins on Saturday when the team travel to Turf Moor to take on winless Burnley.
Mark Noble is added to the squad that comfortably beat QPR at Upton Park and the manager must decide how much to disrupt that winning team when they take on the second-from-bottom Clarets in Lancashire.
“Mark is training today and has trained most of the week,” said Allardyce at his press conference yesterday (Thursday). “So hopefully he will be fine to come back in and make a contribution.”
Noble is likely to play with Alex Song in a more defensive midfield role, with Morgan Amalfitano and Stewart Downing back at the tip of the diamond at the expense of Mauro Zarate.
But the joy of the current West Ham squad is that there are so many permutations.
“The sooner you get all your players fit, the bigger the decisions you have to make as a manager,” said Allardyce.
“Sometimes you have to disappoint players to benefit the team – you can’t play everyone.
“They have to accept that if we all want to do better, even if you are not selected, you have to accept it and wait for your time to come in.”
Allardyce revealed he is assessing the fitness of striker Enner Valencia, who returned to England on Wednesday night after playing two internationals for Ecuador in the United States where he struck three goals.
“He’s in for a recovery session today (Thursday), so we’ll see how he gets on,” said Allardyce.
“It was good to see him hitting the goal trail while he was away. Hopefully, he’ll do the dame against Burnley, but with the length of his travel and potential fatigue we need to take extra caution.”
Another potential risk is the inclusion of full back Carl Jenkinson, who pulled out of the England under-21 squad, but Allardyce insists the Arsenal loanee is ok.
“I don’t think it is a risk,” he added. “He had a problem and spoke to Gareth Southgate and he didn’t want to risk the player with a tight hamstring.
“I think that has all cleared up now. Carl had a big disappointment when he first came to us, pulling his hamstring, so he probably was being a little over-cautious, but he has been in training for a couple of days now.
“There is only Noble back into the squad, but there are lots of others back in training for the first time this week.
“James Collins, Danny Potts and Joey O’Brien are not quite fit enough, but they are building the strength of the squad and by the time we play Manchester City next week, they should all be available.
“The available squad is the biggest it has been since the start of the season, which is a good problem for me.”