Team news: Kouyate returns to squad, but Noble ruled out
Cheikhou Kouyate should return to the West Ham United squad for Saturday’s Premier League fixture with Newcastle United at London Stadium.
The Senegal midfielder is set to be available again after missing the Hammers’ last three top-flight matches with a hamstring injury suffered at Manchester City on 3 December.
The return of Kouyate, who has scored twice in 13 Premier League appearances this season, would be welcome, as captain Mark Noble will miss the meeting with the Magpies with his own hamstring problem.
Noble was hurt initially in the goalless draw with Arsenal on 13 December and aggravated the injury after scoring in the 3-0 win at Stoke City last weekend.
Meanwhile, Michail Antonio is facing a race against time to be fit after returning to training on Friday after overcoming a minor calf problem.
“We have a doubt with Michail Antonio, who couldn’t play in the Carabao Cup tie at Arsenal in midweek as he had a bit of a calf injury,” manager David Moyes confirmed in his pre-match press conference. “That gives us a question mark about him.
“Cheik Kouyate has trained this week, so we’re hopeful that he’ll be available again.
“After that, I think the big one is that Mark Noble won’t be available for the weekend as he has a bit of a hamstring injury.”
Cheik Kouyate has trained this week, so we’re hopeful that he’ll be available again
Moyes will have other selection decisions to make, with Winston Reid, James Collins, Angelo Ogbonna and Aaron Cresswell fighting for places at the back, should he opt for a five-man defence again.
In goal, Adrian could return after ceding his place to Joe Hart for Tuesday’s Carabao Cup quarter-final tie at Arsenal.
In midfield, youngsters Declan Rice and Domingos Quina impressed at the Emirates while, up front, Diafra Sakho scored at Stoke last weekend after coming on as a substitute, while Chicharito, Andre Ayew and Andy Carroll could also come into consideration if Antonio is not fit enough to start.
Sam Byram, Jose Fonte and Edimilson Fernandes are all out injured, with the latter undergoing surgery on an ankle problem earlier this week.