By Frank McAvennie

1st Jul, 2020 | 11:57am

Exclusive: West Ham 28-yr-old tipped for axe v Chelsea tonight

Frank McAvennie expects West Ham defender Fabian Balbuena to be dropped for tonight’s game against Chelsea with Angelo Ogbonna returning to full fitness.

The former Upton Park striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, urged David Moyes to start Ogbonna, 32, even if he is only capable of playing the first hour at the London Stadium.

Balbuena, 28, joined Issa Diop in the heart of the Hammers’ defence for the defeat to Tottenham with Ogbonna only named as a substitute for last week’s fixture.

Ogbonna and Diop have been the first choice partnership at centre-half this season but the former has struggled with injury since the Premier League’s return.

However, having been named on the bench against Spurs and with a full week of training behind him the Italian is expected to be in contention for selection tonight.

When asked by Football Insider if he expected Ogbonna to start against Chelsea, McAvennie said: “I think he will come straight back in.

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“He likes having Ogbonna and Diop in the middle.

“There is no point putting him on the bench and bringing him on if he is fit. If he is fit, get an hour out of him at least and then bring him off.

“I imagine David Moyes will bring him straight back into the back four.

“Chelsea have got a lot of pace so it will be difficult tonight.”

Ogbonna has made 25 appearances this season and scored twice.

After two successive 2-0 losses David Moyes’s side are in desperate need of a win to create some breathing room between themselves and the bottom three.

In other West Ham news, Kevin Phillips is blown away by rarely-seen attacker after Spurs loss.

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