(Reuters) - Midfielder Michail Antonio is a doubt for West Ham United’s Premier League trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday with a bruised rib, manager Slaven Bilic said on Friday.
Antonio, who picked up the knock in West Ham’s 3-0 home defeat by Brighton and Hove Albion last week, missed the 3-2 League Cup fourth round win over Tottenham Hotspur in midweek but trained without contact on Thursday.
Bilic said the 27-year-old, who has made eight Premier League starts and scored one goal so far, would be assessed after training on Friday.
“Michail Antonio had a bruise on his rib and only trained yesterday. We are going to see today,” the Croatian manager told a news conference on Friday.
“Antonio will train today and then based on that we will see what shape he is in,” he said, adding none of his other players had any new injury complaints.
The win over Tottenham on Wednesday breathed new life into Bilic’s bid to overturn a poor start to the campaign. West Ham are 16th in the table and have lost five times, picking up just eight points from their nine games.
“I know our situation, our situation also determines my situation,” added Bilic, who is at risk of becoming the fourth managerial casualty of the Premier League season if he does not improve results.
“All I can say is it is a massively important game and we have to get some points after we lost against Brighton at home. There are rumours... I talk to the chairman, not every day, but often enough and I know my situation and I know our situation,” he said.
“But I am totally focussed on the things that I can influence and that is only the training, talking to the players, and the game. I am totally focussed on the game because only with that in your head can you improve and affect those kind of rumours.”
Crystal Palace are rooted to the bottom of the league with just one win in nine matches. They crashed out of the League Cup with a 4-1 loss to second-tier Bristol City on Tuesday but Bilic said his team were up against an improved side.
“They changed their manager and I’ve watched their last three games and they were good. They beat Chelsea, played well against Newcastle, and have improved.”
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar