Blow for West Ham fans hoping to see new star signing Dimitri Payet in Europa League action this week

France Football

West Ham United fans hoping to see star signing Dimitri Payet in Europa League action on Thursday night will be disappointed to learn he is not available.

The Hammers will start competitive football before any other Premier League side on Thursday night when they welcome Andorran minnows FC Lusitans to the Boleyn Ground for their Europa League first qualifying round match.

The east Londoners will do battle over two legs and are hot favourites to qualify.

But they will have to do so without their new attacking midfielder Payet after Jack Sulivan, son of West Ham co-owner David, revealed he would not be in Slaven Bilic's squad for the club's return to European action after a nine year absence.

Responding to a question from a supporter on Twitter, Sullivan junior revealed fans, who have almost sold out the Europa League game already, will have to wait to see their new £10.7 million capture from Marseille in action.

He said: "Payet cannot take part in this first round! But maybe the other two."

Hammers should be fine without their new star

Sullivan did not go into detail as to why Payet will not be available but it is thought to just be down to fitness as he is yet to start pre-season training with his new team.

In truth the Hammers should not need their new £10.7 million signing to negotiate their way past a Lusitans side that has lost six and drawn one of their seven previous European qualifiers where they have only scored four and conceded 33 in the process.

West Ham should be able to muster enough creativity to ease their way through to a second qualifying round match even if the 28-year-old attacker comfortably created more chances for his former team than any other player in Europe's top five leagues last season with 135 - 40 more than the likes of Barcelona's Lionel Messi.

Fans come out in droves for European return

There has understandably been a lot of interest in the arrival of a France international who had the second highest number of assists last season behind Messi and the season before finished top of that same table.

However, some of the club's other new signings could well feature on Thursday night with Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randloph and Spanish midfielder Pedro Obiang likely to be involved.

West Ham revealed on Monday evening that less than 2,000 of the 36,000 tickets remain with Lusitans - who play in a stadium with a 1,500 capacity - officially bringing just 82 fans over to England.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch