West Ham‘s European hopes have been hit by the news that key centre-back Angelo Ogbonna could be out for a month. The London club are eyeing a spot in next year’s Europa League and sit sixth, just a point off of fourth-placed Liverpool in the final Champions League spot, after 23 games.
But Hammers manager David Moyes’ fears that striker Andriy Yarmolenko’s season could be over after he strained knee ligaments in the FA Cup fifth round defeat at Manchester United have been eased, with the Ukrainian likely now only to be out for a few weeks.
Ogbonna damaged an ankle at Old Trafford, and that is regarded as the more serous of the two injuries, after both players had scans on Thursday.
The Hammers are currently nursing key striker Michail Antonio through games at the moment after his hamstring problems, and sold Sebastien Haller to Ajax in the January transfer window.
Youngster Ademipo Odubeko is the club’s only other out-and-out central striker.
Ogbonna, 32, has meanwhile played every single minute of West Ham’s Premier League campaign so far this season.
But the Italy international will not be able to partner Craig Dawson for the Londoners’ upcoming matches.
Moyes’ men take on Sheffield United at the London Stadium this Saturday before a tricky stint pits them against several of the ‘Big Six’.
After facing the Blades, West Ham take on Tottenham, Manchester City, Leeds, Manchester United and Arsenal all by March 20.
Hammers skipper Mark Noble has meanwhile vowed to get West Ham into Europe before he retires from playing.
Noble will be 34 in May, and his contract runs out at the end of this season.
The long-serving midfielder, who has now played 536 games for the club over 17 years, still has targets.
He said of West Ham’s FA Cup defeat at Man United on Tuesday night: “It’s sad because I’m not going to get to play there too many times again.
“Being a part of that and being able to captain these players has been fantastic.
“I’m 34 in May and have not got too long left. I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.
“To play out there at Old Trafford for maybe the last time, I’m gutted for all the West Ham fans and the boys are gutted, because we gave everything and walked off with nothing left.
“Now we need to concentrate on getting into the European places.
“That’s our main aim – to keep winning and getting into good positions to push this club on to be the best it can be.”