West Ham United have been handed a fresh defensive injury concern, ahead of their Premier League clash with Tottenham Hotspur, after James Collins was forced to pulled out of the senior Wales squad for this weekend's 2018 World Cup qualifier against Group D leaders Serbia in Cardiff. While the Welsh FA are yet to disclose the official reason for that decision, multiple sources report the 33-year-old is suffering from a calf problem.
Collins is the second player to withdraw from Chris Coleman's camp this week after Spurs left-back Ben Davies, who missed Sunday's (6 November) draw with rivals Arsenal due to an ankle injury –picked up in the woeful Champions League defeat to Bayer Leverkusen – was yesterday ruled out and replaced by Bristol City's Sunderland loanee Adam Matthews. He will also be considered a major doubt for that next London derby, which takes place at White Hart Lane immediately after the international break on Saturday 19 November.
Collins' injury comes at a rather awkward time for both club and country. Wales, who have now called up uncapped MK Dons defender Joe Walsh, will likely turn to Newcastle United's Paul Dummett as a replacement for Davies against Serbia.
West Ham, meanwhile, appear to be on the verge of a mini centre-back crisis with 17-year-old prodigy Reece Oxford expected to be sidelined for approximately four weeks after damaging his ankle ligaments in training. Influential vice-captain Winston Reid also sustained a hamstring strain during a 2-0 loss at Everton last month and was subsequently deemed unavailable to skipper OFC Nations Cup champions New Zealand in back-to-back third-round Oceania qualifiers against New Caledonia.
"He [Reid] felt it in the game on Sunday against Everton," All Whites boss Anthony Hudson said last week. "After the game he met with the physio but we didn't think it was that bad. We've just been monitoring it over the last few days. He's had a scan and unfortunately he's got a strain in his hamstring."
Initial concerns that Reid could miss between three to five weeks were quickly allayed by West Ham manager Slaven Bilic, who revealed that the player had only picked up a minor "grade one" hamstring issue. He stopped short of confirming a return date, however.
Collins has made nine appearances for the Hammers so far this term, deputising for the suspended Reid and partnering Angelo Ogbonna in central defence for a 1-1 draw against Stoke City. He would have been expected to so again in the event that his colleague fails to recover in time for Tottenham.