West Ham V Burnley at Olympic Stadium : Match Preview

13 December 2016
West Ham V Burnley - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Slaven Bilic yet to decide if Andy Carroll will start against Burnley

Slaven Bilic is weighing up whether to risk Andy Carroll from the start when Burnley head to the London Stadium on Wednesday night.

The striker is finally fit after his latest injury absence, three-and-a-half months with a knee problem, and has made two substitute appearances against Arsenal and Liverpool.

The Hammers have emerged from a nightmare run of fixtures, which also included Tottenham and Manchester United, and now face back-to-back home games with Burnley and Hull.

But Bilic is wary of pinning West Ham's hopes of moving away from relegation trouble squarely on the shoulders of injury-plagued Carroll.

"We will decide on Wednesday," said the Hammers boss at his pre-match press conference.

"He came on twice from the bench, now we need to decide whether to use him from the bench or from the start.

"We have two very important games and we have to manage our players to be available in both.

"I've been talking about Carroll for most of the last season, he's that kind of player. It is a big blow when we are missing him.

"We are not afraid to start him but we have to think twice on how to manage him.

"We can't look only at Wednesday's game, but we have to look at the bigger picture."

Cheikhou Kouyate is available after missing the 5-1 drubbing by Arsenal and Sunday's 2-2 draw at Anfield with a hamstring injury.

"He trained normally on Monday with all the guys," added Bilic. "He looked all right and looks fit for Wednesday.

"He's a very important player for us and has showed that since he joined the club. When he doesn't play it is a big blow. He's that kind of player."

The Hammers climbed out of the bottom three after their battling point at Liverpool but are without a win in six matches.

Bilic admits they are glad to see the back of their recent tough spell and view two home games against lowlier opposition as a big chance to turn their season around.

"We need to beat Burnley and we need the points," he said. "It has been a difficult schedule and we have been waiting for these home games."

Meanwhile, Sean Dyche believes Burnley's poor away record is more worrying for their opponents than his own side.

The Clarets have proved formidable at Turf Moor, picking up 16 points, but it is a different matter on the road, where they have lost five and drawn one.

Worse still is their goals breakdown, having scored only once and conceded 15 times.

Wednesday's trip offers a chance to change that tune and Dyche thinks rival managers such as Hammers boss Bilic are expecting a change of fortunes soon.

"We know we have to go down there and give an even better performance because we haven't got a win away from home yet," he said.

"We know we've got to correct it. But the longer it goes the worse it is for the opposition we're playing.

"They'll be thinking 'the statistics suggest they're going to win one at some point'.

"The last one against Stoke (a 2-0 defeat) we looked more productive and I think we had 14 efforts to 10 away from home.

"So the statistics suggest it's coming towards us, not going away from us, but the point is we want to make it come towards us, go out and get the win.

"It probably adds more spice to their thinking than ours because ours is clear-minded: we've just got to do better."

There is an argument to be made that West Ham are the perfect side to facilitate a rare away win, having conspicuously failed to make themselves feel fully at home at the London Stadium.

Dyche is not banking on that playing a factor though.

"There's lots being made of their stadium, how their crowd are feeling, how the players are feeling...but it's still a very good side," he added.

"I looked at them on Sunday (against Liverpool) and they looked a strong team, a strong bench, a lot of recognised Premier League players.

"I don't think there's any in that. They've made the decision, and many do it, to move on but there's a bit more furore about this one because it was the Olympic Stadium.

"For some it takes time to adapt. Is it the change of stadium or just life in the Premier League?"

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