Antonio touch and go

  • by Staff Writer
  • Thursday, 23rd December 2021

David Moyes is "hopeful" that Michail Antonio will be fit to return for the Boxing Day test against Southampton.

West Ham United's sole recognised striker was absent from the team beaten 2-1 at White Hart Lane on Wednesday evening having contracted Covid recently.

Yet Moyes believes the 31-year-old has a good chance of returning to the starting XI this weekend when the Irons host the Saints in the first game of the Christmas period.

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"The answer is I don't know but I know he has no symptoms," said the boss when asked to confirm the player's situation. "He's double vaccinated so hopefully there's a good chance we might have him back."

However he was less confident that Aaron Cresswell - who has been missing since the 2-2 defeat at Manchester City last month - will return to the match day squad.

"I can't give you an answer at the moment," he replied when asked to clarify when he expects the full back to return. "But we're missing him and we'd like to get him back if we can.

"He's got a slight injury[ still]. I don't know if you call it on his rib or vertebrae, but he's got something there which is a problem - and it's taking longer than we expected [to heal]."

Moyes was forced to enter last night's Carabao Cup tie at White Hart Lane with his entire first choice defence missing once again, with Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna still absent through injury and Wladimir Coufal unavailable due to a one-match ban.

And he accepted it's something he will have to deal with for a wee while longer, as was the case at White Hart Lane. "It's stretching the squad because we've lost so many defenders," he mused.

"Tonight [against Tottenham] we had to be a little makeshift and we gave two poor goals away, but I didn't think that reflected the general feeling of how we played throughout the game.

"We tried to make things happen so I'm pleased for the players because it's an improvement on where we've been in recent weeks."

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