Skipper set for Stoke return


  • Mark Noble is set to make a return to the West Ham United squad for Saturday’s away fixture at Stoke City
  • The club captain missed two matches through suspension
  • Manager Slaven Bilic has been impressed, however, with a number of players who have stepped into the squad after absences in recent weeks

Club captain Mark Noble will definitely be back in the West Ham United squad for Saturday’s trip to Stoke City, confirmed manager Slaven Bilic.

The skipper has missed the Hammers’ last two fixtures through suspension having picked up his tenth yellow card of the season during the Club’s 1-0 London Stadium victory over Swansea City.

In his absence, Bilic’s team have drawn both their games, first gaining a point up in the north east after a 2-2 stalemate with Sunderland before recording a goalless draw against Everton last weekend.

Noble will be back amongst things this weekend, however, as West Ham look to extend their unbeaten Premier League run to four matches, although forward Andy Carroll looks set to miss out again.

“We have a few knocks from our last game, but we will see today in training and tomorrow our situation,” said Bilic. “We were off yesterday. One [piece of news] is definitely that Mark [Noble] is back in the squad after two games suspended.

“That is it basically. Unfortunately, Andy Carroll won’t be available for this game.

“I was expecting him to be back for this Stoke game, but he’s not, so he should be for the next game against Spurs. He should be OK.”

The Hammers’ good run of form has coincided with a number of players returning to the starting XI having missed large chunks of the campaign previously.

We have a few knocks from our last game, but we will see today in training. Definitely, Mark Noble is back in the squad after two games suspended.

Slaven Bilic

Centre-back James Collins, goalkeeper Adrian and left-back Arthur Masuaku have all earned praise for their performances in recent weeks and Bilic agreed the trio have done well.

“Collins is exactly, in the dressing room, as he is on the pitch. It’s great to have him. He is like Braveheart! He does everything, he’s one of the leaders and he’s there for everyone.

“He’s also a joker and likes to have fun. The way he’s playing, he deserves a lot of praise with the quality of his game, the energy he puts in and the dedication and determination he shows.

“With the goalkeepers, I had a couple of meetings with Adrian and Darren Randolph to explain my decision, like I did when it happened after about ten games of the season. Darren, he is a great professional and of course he is disappointed, but he understood my decision completely.

“He is working very hard and waiting for his chance, like Adrian did for a long time. I have always said, and I mean it, we have two really good goalkeepers. I am really happy with our goalkeepers.

“Arthur Masuaku is a young player who is 23 and he came near the end of the transfer window when we were looking to strengthen in that position when Aaron Cresswell got badly injured in pre-season. We took Arthur for a reason. He has got everything that position requires for a player.

“He is quick, strong, he is a good defender, he’s got a good touch and cross. Of course he needed time to adapt to the league; it’s a new culture, a new language, everything.

“In the beginning he was lively, but unfortunately he got injured and was absent for three months, but he waited for his chance and he improved a lot and he’s back in now.

“He has to continue with the way he has been playing because he has been playing really good.”