West Ham eye pride and game time for returning players in Manchester City clash
22:11 19 January 2014
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Andy Carroll, James Tomkins and Kevin Nolan all set to play a part against Manchester City
West Ham are set to field a strong side when Manchester City come to Upton Park for the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final tomorrow night.
With the Hammers 6-0 down from the first leg after a humiliating battering at the Etihad earlier in the month, the overall winners are not in doubt, but manager Sam Allardyce is keen to give plenty of his experienced players a run out before their next Premier League game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge the following Wednesday.
“It will not particularly be a weakened side,” confirmed Allardyce after Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat by Newcastle United at Upton Park.
“If Andy Carroll doesn’t have any reaction to the Newcastle game after his extended run out compared to the Cardiff City match then he will get a run-out,” he said.
“We will gauge over the next couple of days how his fitness is and how his foot feels and then give him some more game time at some stage against Manchester City.”
That doesn’t sound like Carroll will start the semi-final, but one or two others who have been missing lately are set to start against the Premier League high-fliers.
“Ravel Morrison needs some games because he has had a little groin injury,” explained Allardyce. “Kevin Nolan is back and James Tomkins is also back from suspension and they need to play as well.
“I think in and around that we will put together a team that goes out and tries to play for a bit of pride.”
Pride is the watchword for Tuesday’s game as the squad prepares for the huge tests to come and though it is a little too early for one or two other injured players, they are all slowly returning towards fitness.
“I think Winston Reid is approaching his 10th week of being injured and it was estimated at 10 to 12 weeks depending on how the rehabilitation goes and how he feels, so he has started some light training,” revealed the West Ham boss.
“Guy Demel should be ok for Chelsea at the very earliest, but George McCartney we don’t know about.”
McCartney was due to play right back on Saturday against Newcastle but pulled out on the morning of the match with a neck injury that has been affecting him all week.
“We have had to send him for a scan on his neck,” revealed Allardyce. “We are hoping it is not as severe as we first thought, but when it has gone a full week and it is a lot worse that it was earlier in the week, we are pretty worried about it.
“Joey O’Brien should be back in a few days now and from there on some of them have been out for so long we have got to build up their match fitness, like we have with Andy Carroll, but the truth is we have just got to stick together and start playing better than we are playing at the moment.”