Sunday 21 January 2018

Carroll in line for return against United

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic Picture: Reuters
West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic Picture: Reuters

Matt Law

Slaven Bilic is aiming to give Andy Carroll a cameo against Manchester United in the EFL Cup tonight in order to give the striker the best chance of lining up against Arsenal on Saturday.

Arsenal failed to cope with Carroll last season, as he scored a nine-minute hat-trick either side of half-time in West Ham's 3-3 draw at Upton Park.

Bilic, the West Ham manager, said it would be "suicidal" to try to start Carroll against both United and Arsenal, and is likely to bring the 27-year-old on as a substitute for the quarter-final trip to Old Trafford tonight.

Carroll has not played since the Europa League game against Astra Giurgiu in August because of a knee injury. "We are talking about a player who hasn't played since the game in Romania," said Bilic (right). "It should be good to play 20 minutes or half an hour for Saturday. You can't keep the players in the fridge and then throw them in and expect them to score again or score a hat-trick like he did at Upton Park.

"So for Andy and every player in that condition it would be great to play a part, but if you are talking about 90 minutes on Wednesday and 90 minutes on Saturday, it is suicidal. But 15, 20 minutes, half an hour should be good."

Bilic is also without Diafra Sakho, with the Senegal international waiting for the results of a scan on his injured hamstring, which could give a chance to Ashley Fletcher.

This will be the second time in four days that West Ham have faced United at Old Trafford, having drawn in the Premier League at the weekend.

United manager Jose Mourinho is facing a touchline ban for kicking a water bottle on Sunday and Bilic has some sympathy for his opposing manager.

"I don't know the rules but England is a country where they like to stick to the rules and I saw that," Bilic added. "You are not thinking, 'Can I kick the ball?' You are fuming and you see the bottle and you kick it. Your adrenalin is going and you are also in the red zone." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Manchester United v West Ham, Live, Sky Sports 1, 8.00pm

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