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Mark Noble worries over West Ham injury crisis

Published 27/12/2015

Mark Noble, left, is expecting another tough game against Southampton on Monday
Mark Noble, left, is expecting another tough game against Southampton on Monday

Skipper Mark Noble insists West Ham's injury crisis would hurt any team in the Barclays Premier League.

The Hammers host Southampton on Monday after Boxing Day's 1-1 draw at Aston Villa and Noble believes their missing men would have made the difference.

James Tomkins (head) and Aaron Cresswell (hamstring) were forced off at Villa Park but the club hope they will be fit to face the Saints with Dimitri Payet, Victor Moses, Manuel Lanzini, Andy Carroll and Nikica Jelavic already struggling with injury.

"I'm the first one to say we have a good squad but we miss the players we've got." Noble said. "We miss the players who create stuff and score goals. Take away Jelavic, Carroll, Dimitri, Lanzini and Moses, it's going to hurt any squad. We have managed to cope with it and I'm proud of the players for digging in and picking up the points.

"These teams are playing their full squads and we're asking six or seven players to play when they are not fit. We lost Tomks at half-time and Cress with 20 minutes to go.

"It's only 48 hours (between games) and we'll do a warm down (on Sunday) and start looking forward to Southampton. We need to get three points.

"We have come through a tough spell with a lot of games with a squad which is depleted but the boys have dug in well and I'm proud of them."

Saturday's point means Slaven Bilic's side have drawn their last five games and have not won in eight matches to sit 10th in the table.

Cresswell's strike against Villa - West Ham's first goal for 388 minutes - was cancelled out by Jordan Ayew's second-half penalty after Rudy Gestede went down under Angelo Ogbonna's challenge but Noble felt the Villa forward fouled Ogbonna in the build up.

"I thought it was a foul leading up to the penalty. It's just the way it's going for us," he told the club's official site. "We scored a good goal with Cress and you hope you can hang on. We knew they were going to be tough. We wanted to come and get the three points and we were heading that way until a bad decision."

Manager Bilic does not expect the majority of his walking wounded to return against Southampton but remains hopeful on Carroll and Lanzini (both thigh) could play while Payet is pencilled in for a comeback against Liverpool on Saturday.

He said: "We can't make any changes, maybe we will be forced to do changes. Probably we're not going to have many options to rest or rotate. Hopefully our players who got injured on Saturday will be able to play but we don't know that.

"More hopefully than probably (to face Southampton) are Andy Carroll and Lanzini. Thank God (Enner) Valencia is back, it will be a big boost for us when they come back and although we really need them it's a question of do you want to risk them for one game and then they could be out for weeks or months? No matter how desperate I am to have them we are going to think about it."

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