West Ham United manager David Moyes says his squad is feeling fresh and ready for the challenges that lie in wait in the closing months of the 2021/22 campaign.
The first of those challenges is an Emirates FA Cup fourth-round trip to National League North side Kidderminster Harriers, with the Hammers tackling that tie off the back of their mid-season winter break.
Moyes believes that brief lull in the hectic pace of the campaign will have done hie team the power of good, and the manager is likely to select an experienced side at Aggborough.
“I think you can see what we did against Leeds United and we were very strong [in that game],” he said.
“The players are well-rested, but I also have to say that we have a Premier League game in midweek as well, so that has to come into consideration.
“To beat Leeds United in the third round of the Cup was very good and we want to see if we can get through to the next round by beating Kidderminster.”
One player less likely to be involved is Michail Antonio who, due to the logistics of the international window, will only return to Rush Green following FIFA World Cup qualifiers later on Friday morning.
Moyes conceded that the scheduling of these matches is a difficult task, but feels the timing could be better suited in allowing players to come back to their clubs with more time to prepare before their next assignment.
“Michail Antonio arrives back today at 11am from Jamaica," Moyes confirmed.
“I know there are players away at the Africa Cup of Nations at the moment, who clubs have not got, but this was an international week with Mick away.
“The biggest problem is that the scheduling of the games is very tough for the people who are doing it.. Everybody is trying to squeeze games in and the people who get affected are the players first and foremost, but if you’re a club paying the wages, you’d be saying it’s hardly correct to be getting your player back at 11am on a Friday morning to be playing on a Saturday.
“But that’s part of it and we have to live with it.”