He said: “James Tomkins got injured in the Southampton game, he felt it before during the warm up but he said he was OK. Sam is OK for the Premier League and also Joey O’Brien is back after a long absence. Of course he is a good player, his quality was never in doubt. Losing Tomkins is a big blow for us but we have options.”
Although not directly confirming who he will select against Liverpool on Tuesday, Bilic has hinted that Joey O’Brien will start at right-back.
Mostly this is because he is the only option, with Tomkins and Byram both out of action.
Tomkins picked up an injury in the weekend’s game against Southampton, and Byram is cup-tied due to playing in the FA Cup with Leeds.
Carl Jenkinson has returned to Arsenal with an injury that will keep him out until the end of the season.
Either Bilic can play O’Brien in his natural position, or look to field another player in an unnatural right-back role.
Whilst the O’Brien choice seems obvious, he has not played much football this season and has only just got back to full fitness after an injury, meaning he is behind the curve in terms of match fitness.
Another member of the first-team squad will be more up to speed with the game, but will not be as tactically astute in the role.
Bilic has had to deal with numerous injury problems this season, and has so far passed them with flying colours. This is another test he will have to deal pass, as the Hammers look to progress past Liverpool into the next round of the FA Cup.