West Ham finally have the squad to attack cup competitions and end 36-year wait for silverware

West Ham United Gate

West Ham United may be the talk of the Premier League at the moment but it is the cup competitions that present their best chance of a long-awaited trophy.

The Hammers have not won a major piece of silverware since 1980 when Sir Trevor Brooking's diving header against Arsenal sealed their place in history as the last side to win the FA Cup outside the top flight.

Now, what will be 36 years on by the time any trophies are handed out, the Upton Park faithful's loyalty has truly been tested to the limit.

An Intertoto Cup victory over Metz, two Championship Play-Off final wins and a losing FA Cup final appearance against Liverpool are the closest the club has come to any glory since.

Bilic's revolution feels special

Slaven Bilic's East London revolution has the air of something special about it, though.

A remarkable hat-trick of deserved victories away to Arsenal, Liverpool and now Manchester City show West Ham can more than mix it with the very best.

And this season, more than any other in their recent history, the Hammers finally have a squad to attack both the league and cup competitions.

The last three seasons under Sam Allardyce have seen the club experience mixed fortunes in the cups.

Allardyce showed contempt for the cups

Allardyce always made it clear his priority was the league and would put out much-weakened teams in the League Cup and FA Cup during his four-year tenure.

The best example was when a team full of youngsters were sent like lambs to the slaughter, many making their first team debuts, to a high-flying Nottingham Forest in 2014 where they were humiliated 5-0.

They did make it to the semi-finals of the League Cup in the same season but were unceremoniously beaten 6-0 by Manchester City in the first leg and lost 9-1 on aggregate.

Most Hammers fans felt Allardyce's treatment of the cup competitions flew in the face of the club's proud traditions and denied them their only realistic hope of some glory.

Options aplenty

But now under Bilic they have options aplenty to give it a real go, starting at Leicester City on Tuesday night.

In previous years the Hammers would have to protect first team stars for fear of them getting injured and missing vital Premier League games.

The Hammers are flying high in third place in the league, though, and can make as many as seven or eight changes while still putting out a team full of top flight experience.

Bilic can afford to change number one Adrian for understudy Darren Randolph knowing he can do it on the big stage after deputising impressively while the Spaniard sat out three matches through suspension.

Star defender Winston Reid can be given a well earned rest with experienced Wales international James Collins chomping at the bit for game time.

A fitting way to mark the last season at the Boleyn Ground

The League Cup could be the perfect place for the club's youngest ever player Reece Oxford to continue his development.

The 16-year-old shot to prominence with a commanding debut in the 2-0 win at the Emirates but has been used sparingly since.

Up front the likes of England striker Andy Carroll will surely be used as he is eased back in following his latest lengthy spell out through injury while Mauro Zarate is another kicking his heels on the bench.

The club's options for the League Cup are limited slightly by the unavailability of striker signing Nikica Jelavic and £7 million winger Michail Antonio who are both cup-tied.

But when the FA Cup kicks off in January they too will be vying to help make this a memorable final season at the Boleyn Ground by bringing back some long overdue silverware.

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