By Wayne Veysey

21st Jan, 2017 | 6:11pm

Huge West Ham blow: Key player to miss rest of the season

By Harry Sykes

West Ham defender Angelo Ogbonna will miss the rest of the season, it was revealed on Saturday.

Manager Slaven Bilic revealed in the aftermath of the club’s 3-1 win at Middlesbrough that Ogbonna requires knee surgery.

The Italian centre-back, 28, played the full 90 minutes of the clash at the Riverside but Bilic explained he has been carrying the knee problem for some time.

Bilic revealed that Ogbonna will now go under the knife and will not play again for the club in 2016/17.

“He needs an operation on his knee to be fit long-term, and it was supposed to be a couple of weeks but we asked him to play,” Bilic said, as quoted by the official West Ham Twitter account. “Ogbonna will now have surgery after today’s game which will rule him out until the end of the season.”

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The absence of 13-times Italy international Ogbonna is a major blow for West Ham as they aim to avoid being sucked into a relegation battle.

The defender has been a mainstay of the team this season and has established a solid central defensive partnership with Winston Reid.

The 2015 signing from Juventus has made 24 appearances for the London club this season in all competitions, 18 of which have come in the Premier League.

Andy Carroll scored twice for West Ham on Saturday to make it back-to-back victories and take them into the top half of the Premier League for the first time this season.

Second-half substitute Jonathan Calleri, who replaced Carroll, secured the three points for the London club.

West Ham ended the day 10th in the league with a haul of 28 points from 22 matches.

In other West Ham team news, the club have been installed odds-on favourites to sign a Premier League midfield goal machine this month.

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