Why recovering star Alex Song could prompt decision over West Ham captain Mark Noble

Collins, Song, Jenkinson

Slaven Bilic could face his toughest test yet as West Ham United boss when star midfielder Alex Song returns from injury next month.

Hammers co-owner David Gold has confirmed on Twitter that the on-loan Barcelona man is expected to return from injury at the end of October.

Will Song make boss change his midfield tune?

And while that can only be good news for West Ham fans and the quality of their high-flying side, it could spell trouble for Bilic and his new captain Mark Noble.

Noble, who is affectionately known as Mr West Ham, started the season somewhat out of sorts, continuing a malaise that seemed to creep into his game in the second half of last season.

But since being made skipper of his boyhood club by Bilic in the wake of Kevin Nolan's departure from the club, Noble had stepped his game up.

However, the skipper was at fault for both goals in the 2-2 draw at home to Norwich City on Saturday – firstly with a sloppy cross-field pass which allowed Robbie Brady in to score and then allowing Nathan Redmond to cut inside on his right foot in the box to smash home.

While Diafra Sakho and a last minute Cheikhou Kouyate goal spared his blushes it seems Noble's place may well be in jeopardy when Song returns.

Has Bilic made a rod for his own back?

When he was made captain many Hammers fans took to social media to argue that it should have been given to a guaranteed starter like Winston Reid.

Those fans argued that having signed the likes of Pedro Obiang, who has been very impressive since joining from Sampdoria, Dimitri Payet – the club's star player this season – and Song, Noble would struggle to hold down a place in the side.

Throw Victor Moses and Kouyate into the mix and should the club's longest serving player not maintain very high performance levels Bilic will face one of the most difficult decisions of his Hammers career so far.

Just how do you drop your captain?

Time will tell if Noble can bounce back to the kind of performances he delivered at Liverpool and against Newcastle United recently and make the decision an easier one.

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