Brian Dear claims West Ham would be challenging for the Premier League if it wasn’t for their injury problems

West Ham are enjoying a great season under Slaven Bilic.

Speaking to the official West Ham website, former Hammers player Brian Dear has claimed that Slaven Bilic’s side would be challenging for the Premier League title if they had not suffered a wealth of injuries this term.

Dear said: “Even as a West Ham man, I have to say I watched Tottenham play Manchester City on Sunday and they have got some good players, but I don’t think they are too different to us. If we had not had so many injuries to key players like Winston Reid, James Tomkins, Dimitri Payet, Diafra Sakho and Manuel Lanzini this season, I believe we could have been up there with them challenging.”

This is a bold prediction to make, but one that is quite believable given how well West Ham have been doing despite their injuries.

They are sitting in seventh place in the Premier League table, one point behind fifth placed Manchester United, and seven points off the top four.

When able to call upon a full strength team, Bilic has led his side to victories over the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool - all away from home - and he has had to spend much of the campaign dealing with a depleted squad.

The likes of Payet, Lanzini, Reid and Sakho - who have all spent time out of action - are key players, and somehow Bilic has kept his team competitive despite this.

If it was not for Leicester’s form, Bilic would arguably be the manager of the season, and if the Hammers can just right their injury troubles, they could realistically challenge for the Premier League title next term.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch