Losing Michail Antonio to injury again is a “massive blow” for West Ham as he faces missing out against Leeds United tomorrow, according to Darren Bent.
The former Tottenham and England striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, heralded the 30-year-old’s work rate up front and insisted he gave “defenders a nightmare” in a way Sebastien Haller is unable to.
As quoted by Football.London, Moyes confirmed Antonio suffered a new hamstring injury in the win over Aston Villa and that he was unsure when the forward would be back in action.
It is reported by the same site that the forward is unlikely to feature against Leeds in Friday’s televised clash.
Antonio missed three games with another hamstring problem between October and November, while he lasted just 45 minutes against Villa on his comeback.
Haller has played the full 90 minutes in three of the Irons’ last four Premier League games but has just one goal to show for his efforts.
Bent insisted Moyes will be “praying” to have his attacking talisman back in action ahead of a busy festive period.
Bent told Football Insider: “He is a big, big miss. He does so much for that frontline – he chases lost causes, he’s a pest, he’s strong, holds people up, he’s a real nuisance.
“The fact that he’s not playing is a massive, massive blow. You just hope he’s back sooner rather than later because I’m not quite sure how long they can go without him.
“We’ve seen Haller come and score a goal but he’s not Antonio. Antonio is so dynamic and he gives defenders nightmares. So I think David Moyes is praying that he gets him back sooner rather than later.”
Antonio has scored three goals in seven top-flight appearances this season, having started the opening six games of the campaign.
The Hammers, who face Leeds United on Friday night, have won twice and lost twice without the former Nottingham Forest man in the side.
In other West Ham news, the Irons have been tipped to agree landmark contract after key update from east London.