West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic admits he is annoyed at the latest fitness blow suffered by Andy Carroll, but insists that the injury-plagued striker will likely miss just a fortnight. After spending almost a month on the sidelines due to a hamstring problem, the 27-year-old's return lasted all of three matches before he sustained an issue with his adductor muscle after coming on as a second-half substitute during the 2-2 draw at Norwich on 13 February.
The club's head of medical and sports science , Stijn Vandenbroucke, had already confirmed Carroll's absence for the upcoming FA Cup fifth-round clash against Championship side Blackburn Rovers. With Diafra Sakho not yet ready to return from his recurring thigh complaint, Enner Valencia ruled out due to a right ankle knock and Nikica Jelavic having been sold to Beijing Renhe this week, Emmanuel Emenike is set to make his first start since joining on loan from Fenerbahce towards the latter stages of the January transfer window.
Addressing the timescale for Carroll's return during a pre-match press conference, Bilic was quoted as saying by the Press Association: "It's not a big injury, maybe a couple of weeks. It happens to him a lot, he can't get a proper routine of games. We are gutted, and he is gutted, at the situation."
In other team news, the manager expressed hope that centre-back Winston Reid would be fit to face Sunderland next weekend after re-injuring his hamstring during the fourth-round replay win over Liverpool.
Bilic, who will have Manuel Lanzini available again, is also facing a right-back dilemma with James Tomkins and Joey O'Brien both out and Sam Byram ineligible to feature due to his previous cup involvement with Leeds United. Arsenal loanee Carl Jenkinson has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a cruciate ligament injury against Manchester City last month.
"Andy Carroll and Enner Valencia are both out but [Manuel] Lanzini is back," Bilic said. "Reidy should be all right for Sunderland. Diafra Sakho is back training with us which is good. Joey O'Brien and James Tomkins are out, Sam Byram is cup-tied so we have a decision to make about the right-back position. We will see today and tomorrow and then decide."
One position that the Croatian has already decided upon is goalkeeper. While Adrian remains West Ham's first-choice option in the Premier League, deputy Darren Randolph has fared well in the cup competitions since arriving from Birmingham on a free transfer in May 2015. The Republic of Ireland international is set to don the gloves once more for the trip to Ewood Park.
"Darren Randolph will start, he has done brilliantly every time he's played. It is a great situation to have two fantastic goalkeepers."