West Ham co-chairman comments on losing two key players in January

Upton Park

West Ham co-chairman David Gold thinks the Hammers can cope without Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho.

Despite two defeats to London rivals over the Christmas period, spirits remain high around West Ham after a great first half of the season.

Chelsea and Arsenal may have swatted the Hammers aside in respective 2-0 and 2-1 wins, but West Ham sit in sixth place with 31 points - seven places higher than their finish last season, and already just nine point shy of last term's points total.

However, a tough period is coming up for Sam Allardyce's men, with Senegalese duo Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho set to head off to Equatorial Guinea for the 2015 African Cup of Nations.

Both will be big misses, and could be missing for up to a month - with co-chairman David Gold hoping the pair return early.

"Who knows when the lads will be back? It could be sooner rather than later but I wish them both well," added Gold.

Whilst those two will be playing, Alex Song has missed out on a call-up to the Cameroon squad, meaning he will be available to play for West Ham - and Gold confirmed to Claret and Hugh that he is delighted.

"We can cope but Alex would have been a huge miss. Andy Carroll is in good form and Enner showed against Chelsea that he is a real handful. The key will be keeping them fit," said Gold.

"Alex is still with us and as the matches thin out all will be well as he has always had problems playing two games in rapid succession which is why he played only a supporting role at Chelsea," he added.

Carroll and Valencia will be needed with Sakho missing, but Song makes West Ham tick in midfield, and his omission from Volker Finke's Cameroon squad is a huge boost for Allardyce and co.

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