Frank McAvennie has claimed Mark Noble will have to settle for a place on the bench tonight with West Ham much improved since he was dropped.

The former Upton Park striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, said Declan Rice “looked a different player” in a midfield two with Tomas Soucek against Chelsea and Newcastle United.

Noble, 33, started the opening two fixtures of the restart for the Hammers but was ruled out of the 3-2 victory against Chelsea last week with a hamstring problem.

West Ham midfielder Mark Noble celebrates

The West Ham captain then had to settle for a place on the bench on Sunday as Moyes named an unchanged side for trip to St. James’ Park.

McAvennie is adamant the midfield pairing of Rice and Soucek will be preferred again tonight despite the Hammers throwing away the lead twice in Sunday’s 2-2 draw.

“I am not going to have a go at the captain but they left out Mark Noble and it worked,” he told Football Insider.

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“It was a surprise but Declan Rice looked a different player in there, sorry Nobes.

“Nobes will still be a big part of West Ham but I think David Moyes wants young legs in there now.

“Nobes will not be happy not playing but the team has done so well with him not in the team. I would expect him to be on the bench tonight.”  

The Hammers face an in-form Burnley side who have picked up seven points from their last three games.

Victory would see the Irons move seven points clear of the relegation zone with Aston Villa and Bournemouth not in action until tomorrow.

In other West Ham news, Paul Robinson slams midfielder who could ‘cost them survival’ after Newcastle draw.

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