West Ham’s battle against relegation has suffered another blow after Ryan Fredericks was struck down by a shoulder injury.
Full-back Fredericks could miss the rest of the season after scans showed he suffered ligament damage following an innocuous looking collision with Manchester City midfielder Rodri.
The injury is all the more galling for manager David Moyes as he had been desperately trying to sign a right-back as cover during the January transfer window, only to draw a blank.
Moyes said: “I can’t confirm exactly how long he is out for but we know he has damaged his ligaments in his shoulder and we are waiting on other advice to see what to do.
“Obviously we are doing everything that we can to get him back but I couldn’t confirm whether he will need surgery, or just healing time. We are just waiting on the advice.
“Will he be back before the end of the season? I hope so, but I can’t get that confirmed yet.”
Veteran Pablo Zabaleta replaced Fredericks at the Etihad Stadium and is in line to start Monday night’s daunting visit to runaway leaders Liverpool.
Moyes came in for criticism from some West Ham fans for his defensive tactics during the 2-0 defeat against City, where he played five at the back, packed the midfield and left Michail Antonio on his own in attack.
But the Scot insisted: “We certainly didn’t set up to get beaten, we set up to win, and to be hard to play against because we knew the quality of the players we were playing against.
“I have to say the players did a good job at it, they did a lot of good things.”
Things do not get any easier for the Hammers, who remain in the bottom three ahead of the trip to Anfield.
Liverpool remain unbeaten in the Premier League but, unlikely as it seems, Moyes is optimistic they can give the champions-elect a surprise.
“That’s football for you,” he said. “That’s why we love the game and take part in the game, because you could be the team to win.
“We will try to do that and let’s hope we can.”