Team news: Bilic to field strong Carabao Cup side



Slaven Bilic has insisted he will field a strong starting XI as his West Ham United side travel to Cheltenham Town for their Carabao Cup second round fixture on Wednesday night.

With Michail Antonio playing his first minutes of the season against Southampton on Saturday and the likes of Manuel Lanzini and Robert Snodgrass only just returning to training, they may miss out.

However, the Hammers boss is confident the team he puts out at the LCI Rail Staidum can win the game and secure a spot in the third round of the competition.

He said: “We will take a strong squad to Cheltenham. Maybe a few players will stay and obviously the players still not fit will not come.

“Only with the players like Antonio – who came back after a long injury and played on Saturday – will we be thinking about Newcastle game.

“Some of them are only in their first few days of training like Lanzini. But if it stays like that we have a really strong squad.

“Today in training, for instance, we had all the other players available for training. They were fit and on the pitch without restrictions. Some of them are suspended – [Marko] Arnautovic – some it was their first training, like Snodgrass.

“For tomorrow’s game, there are only a couple of players that we won’t take to travel. We have options and we want to give some a rest. We will see tomorrow which team we will put out but it will be a strong team because we want to win the game of course.

Manuel Lanzini is back in training


“Winston Reid will not be fit but it’s not a bad injury. He should be fit for the Huddersfield game after the international break.”

New signing Joe Hart has started both games between the sticks in the Premier League so far, therefore Spanish stopper Adrian may be hoping for a chance to impress on Wednesday.

There could be more minutes for Diafra Sakho, who has been introduced as a substitute twice so far this campaign, while Declan Rice will be keen to continue his fine form after his first senior start on the south coast.

West Ham suffered late heartbreak at St. Mary’s on Saturday, conceding a stoppage time penalty in a 3-2 defeat to the Saints.

But Bilic believes this early in the season, although the games are coming thick and fast, there is plenty of time to field a strong lineup at Cheltenham and still be in good shape for Newcastle United at the weekend.

“It’s not a big thing for others to play – it’s the beginning of the season. There is an international break after the Newcastle game, so it’s OK for them to play.

“Wednesday until Saturday is enough time to recover. If we make changes it’s because we have a good squad and can do that, although we will have a little bit of an eye on Newcastle but we will put a strong team out.”

Wednesday’s tie will be screened live in the UK by Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Mix from 7.30pm. Alternatively, you can follow our Live blog on from 6pm.