Team news: Evra could make debut, Arnautovic latest
David Moyes could hand Patrice Evra his West Ham United debut in Saturday’s Premier League fixture with Watford at London Stadium.
The former France captain joined the Hammers on a free transfer on Wednesday, three months after playing his last game Marseille, and the manager says the 36-year-old’s professionalism means he arrived in east London in superb physical condition.
With Arthur Masuaku suspended and Aaron Cresswell deployed in a central defensive role in recent matches, Moyes says Evra’s arrival has come at just the right time to boost his squad.
Michail Antonio has done a bit more training and Marko Arnautovic has done a bit of training this week
"We've needed him for cover because Arthur is suspended and we have nobody else if we lost Aaron Cresswell,” Moyes confirmed. “We like all his other qualities but we've got him here to play. Hopefully we'll get him ready as quickly as we possibly can and see if he’s ready to play.”
“There is a chance he can feature this weekend. He's not far away in my eyes because he’s been training. He played in November for Marseille, so he’s no different to a player who’s been out for ten or 12 weeks with an injury. Sometimes getting players in as quickly as possible is the best thing you can do.”
Evra could be joined in matchday squad to face the Hornets by Marko Arnautovic and Michail Antonio, both of whom have been in training with the group at Rush Green this week.
Arnautovic’s return would be particularly welcome, seeing as the Austrian had registered six goals and three assists in the eight matches he played before suffering a hamstring injury.
"We're getting people back and a bit closer to fitness. Michail Antonio has done a bit more training and Marko Arnautovic has done a bit of training this week. Hopefully we're getting closer to getting those players available.
“Winston Reid has had a bit of a throat infection but apart from that we’re getting a little bit more like it. Michail and Marko are getting closer…
“Marko has been a miss for us because his form was as good as any. His overall performances for the team as a centre forward were fantastic, so we’ve really missed him, but we’ve also missed Lanzini. They’ve been really important to us.”
Moyes said a number of other players – the likes of Jose Fonte, James Collins, Cheikhou Kouyate and Mark Noble – are now either at or approaching full match-fitness as the season approaches its climax.
However, he did confirm that Pedro Obiang could miss the remainder of the campaign after undergoing successful knee surgery.
"We don't have an awful lot still to come back to training in the short term. We're getting close to having everybody back, apart from the long-term absentees.
“Jose Fonte is back but maybe needs some practice matches which we’re trying to sort out and we have a couple of others, Winston Reid one of them who was injured for a while and has had a throat infection.
“Some of them are close, but others like Pedro Obiang and one or two others like Edi Fernandes who are going to be out for a little while longer.”
“Hopefully it might not be the whole season, but he's had a repair to his medial ligament and that will more than likely keep him out for most of the season. Who knows? We might get him back just before the end, but probably not. He’s still in Madrid at the moment after his operation.”