By Harvey Byrne

Former Premier League defender Danny Higginbotham has claimed that West Ham are missing forward duo Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho during their current run of poor form.

The Hammers have lost their previous five matches in the league, which has left them in 18th place in the table.

Sakho has not featured for the east London club with a move to West Brom breaking down in the summer due to an injury, while Carroll hasn’t played since the middle of August in a Europa League clash against Astra Giurgiu.

Higginbotham, who played for Manchester United, Stoke, Southampton and Sunderland during his playing career has stated that the Hammers are missing the two forwards in the new campaign, but when they return West Ham will be the side they were last season.

“West Ham’s issues have been laid at the door of the new stadium but they have been poor away, too,” wrote Higginbotham in his column for the Sun. “What is clear is how much they are missing strikers Diafra Sakho, who can stretch defences with his pace, and Andy Carroll, who stretches them physically.”

“Add in the lack of Aaron Cresswell, who gets up and down the left side, and opposing teams are able to set up much more compact, denying Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini the space they enjoyed last season.

“It is only when those front players come back that the Hammers will be the West Ham of last season again.”

Slaven Bilic’s side finished seventh in the Premier League in the last campaign, which saw them enter the qualification stages of this season’s Europa League.

However, they have since been knocked out of Europe to further compound on the misery of their poor start in the league.

They will face Crystal Palace in the league after the international break in a London clash and Alan Pardew’s side are currently sat in eighth place in the league table.

In other West Ham team news, former Roma boss Rudi Garcia is being lined up for a sensational return to the game as Hammers manager.