By Noel Whelan

11th Dec, 2020 | 4:30pm

'I'm So Happy' - Exclusive: Pundit buzzing over early West Ham team news pre-Leeds

Noel Whelan has admitted he is delighted Michail Antonio is set to be missing for West Ham against Leeds United at Elland Road.

The former Leeds striker and boyhood fan of the Whites, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, has insisted the 30-year-old would have “terrorised” what is set to be a makeshift centre-back pairing with his dynamism.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, David Moyes confirmed Antonio would most likely miss Friday night’s clash with the Whites as he recovers from a hamstring problem picked up in the win over Aston Villa.

Leeds are set to be missing both Robin Koch and Diego Llorente through injury, meaning Luke Ayling looks likely to step into the void once again.

Whelan has admitted he would have been worried had Antonio been starting for West Ham and suggested that Sebastien Haller would be an easier striker for the Leeds defence to cope with.

Whelan told Football Insider: “Good thing Antonio might not be playing because I think he’s really important to their side.

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“I’m so happy he’s not playing because I think he would terrorise us, especially when you’ve got Luke Ayling playing at the back, not a natural centre-half, maybe Haller’s a better one to be marking. 

“He’s not really the same kind of player as Antonio who’s got a real dynamic burst about him.” 

Antonio has played seven times and scored three goals for the Hammers so far, although he lasted just 45 minutes on his comeback against Villa.

Haller meanwhile has netted twice in 10 Premier League appearances this season.

In other Leeds United news: ‘He’s a man of his word’ – McLeish blown away by transfer reveal.