The Hammers take on Arsenal this weekend as the Premier League gets underway, and a report in the Telegraph claims that Slaven Bilic is set to field a second-string side in the Europa League second leg tie with Astra Giurgiu.
The East London club face a tough task in the Europa League, having fallen to a 2-2 draw at home in the qualifying game, and seeing another player red carded. They have to ensure victory away from home to guaranteed progression to the next round, but Bilic is preparing to field a second-string side.
He has become frustrated with the standard of refereeing in the competition, and is willing to suffer being knocked out of Europe so as to focus upon the Hammers’ Premier League campaign.
The report states that Bilic is ‘carefully considering whether or not the competition is worth risking West Ham’s season over’.
This means that a weaker team will be put out against the Romanian team, as there is just a three day gap before West Ham take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium as Bilic starts his domestic campaign as head coach.
The only player considered a first-team star who is set to feature against Astra will be Carl Jenkinson, as he is not available for selection on the opening week of the Premier League. As he is on loan from Arsenal, the right-back will not be allowed to play against his parent club, and will be selected in the European tie instead.