West Ham hero Adrian lauds strength-in-depth and gives verdict on where they can finish


West Ham United hero Adrian has praised the club's strength-in-depth after a spate of injuries tore through the first team.

The Hammers are experiencing what seems to be an annual glut of injuries to key players after losing star man Dimitri Payet, strike duo Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho, key playmaker Manuel Lanzini, winger Victor Moses and now leading defender Winston Reid too.

With six first team starters wiped out all within a month it means Bilic has been left in the unenviable position of relying on injury-prone striker Andy Carroll and the unfancied Nikica Jelavic up front while his midfield is completely shorn of pace and guile.

The situation looks set to ease slightly, though, after Valencia returned to the bench for the 0-0 draw with Stoke City last time out and Lanzini was tipped to be fit again for this weekend's game against Swansea, two weeks ahead of schedule.

'It's hard at this time'

West Ham may not have won for six games but one of their key players, goalkeeper Adrian, has told the club's official website it is down to great strength in depth that they have only lost two of them.

"We (have) showed good team spirit," Adrian told whufc.com.

"We have five or six injuries and it's hard at this time, because we have many games coming over the Christmas period.

"I think we have a good squad now and the players that have the chance now, like (Michail) Antonio, need to continue to play well."

'Top six finish still possible'

Winger Antonio is just one of Slaven Bilic's squad players who, until recently, had been kicking his heels on the sidelines following the club's electric start to the season.

Wins over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea were the highlights as the Hammers sat in the top three in October.

But as the injuries took hold the Hammers have slipped down to eighth place with four draws during their winless six-game run.

The likes of Antonio have mitigated the impact of the injuries, though, and ensured Bilic's side are still picking up points.

And Adrian has seen enough to be convinced that if they can keep the ship steady over the festive period West Ham can finish the season on a high.

“If we pass the Christmas period and start to get the injured players back into the team in January and February, and we are still in the same position, we can look to stay in the top six, or seven," he added.

Frustrated by injuries

While nobody at Upton Park should be feeling too down with the club sat eighth in the league, fans must feel so frustrated at seeing injuries potentially spoil what is their last ever season at their beloved Boleyn Ground.

With a fully fit squad who knows where the Hammers might have finished this season.

But as Adrian points out, if West Ham can somehow navigate the next month or so reasonably well they will be in a good position to kick on in the new year as their walking wounded start to return from their respective lay-offs.

The Hammers travel to managerless Swansea City on Sunday knowing a win could move them above bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur into fifth place.

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