West Ham forward Diafra Sakho is set to be out of action for six weeks after suffering a thigh injury during the weekend draw with Manchester United. The news is a new blow for Slaven Bilic ahead of a demanding run of fixtures that will see the Hammers facing the Red Devils, Arsenal and Liverpool in the space of 12 days.
The Hammers visit United again on Wednesday night in the EFL Cup quarter-finals before two Premier League key clashes with the Gunners and Liverpool.
On Tuesday Bilic already ruled out Sakho for the trip to Old Trafford but the club have now revealed the 26-year-old forward is not expected to play again in 2016.
"Hammers striker Diafra Sakho will be out for six weeks after sustaining a thigh injury during Sunday's draw with Manchester United," West Ham confirmed in a statement. "Sakho scored the opener at Old Trafford with just two minutes on the clock, but was withdrawn in the 66th minute through injury. A scan on Tuesday revealed that the injury will keep him out of contention for up to six weeks."
Sakho was making just his second appearance of the campaign against United. The Senegal star had missed the opening months of the season due to a back injury that stopped him from joining West Brom during the summer transfer window.
The new Sakho blow is yet another concern for Bilic ahead of the coming weeks, after his forwards struggled to make much of an impact in the opening part of the season.
Andy Carroll is back in contention following more than three months out while young Ashley Fletcher may be given a chance to impress against United on Wednesday night.
The former Manchester United academy forward will relish the challenge after having made 11 appearances for the first-team since his arrival from Old Trafford. At the weekend the 21-year-old starlet was close to scoring off the bench and will try to take the most of the opportunity again if Bilic names him in his line-up.
"It was one of those chances that if I had hit the ball either side of De Gea, the ball would have gone in, but the angle I found myself in, I could only strike the ball straight at him," Fletcher recalled. "I will have a lot of family and friends watching once again so hopefully I can put a chance away in this game!
"I couldn't have asked for anything better since I joined West Ham. I came thinking that I would hopefully be a player for the future but that if I impressed I would get my chance."