By Wayne Veysey
Andriy Yarmolenko is set for an extended run on the right side of the West Ham attack after Michail Antonio’s devastating injury blow, Football Insider has learned.
Manuel Pellegrini was tightlipped yesterday about the severity of Antonio’s hamstring problem sustained in Tuesday’s League Cup win at Newport County but Football Insider has been told he has torn the muscle and is expected by his club to be sidelined until Christmas.
A West Ham source has told Football Insider that Yarmolenko, 29, is primed for a major role on the right wing after just 68 minutes of senior action in 10 months.
Yarmolenko was starting to shine following his £17.5million transfer last year from Borussia Dortmund when he suffered an achilles injury last October that required surgery.
He is now fully recovered and has shared the right-flank role with Antonio and Robert Snodgrass in in the early weeks of the campaign.
Antonio started the opening-day hammering by Manchester City, Snodgrass was in the XI for the draw against Brighton and Yarmolenko made his first start since last October in the win versus Watford.
Pellegrini is a big admirer of the Ukraine international and believes he can be a real force in the Premier League, cutting in from the right on to his favoured left foot, when fully back up to speed.
Football Insider revealed on Wednesday that Antonio’s injury is so serious the club’s medics can’t scan his leg until today but they still expect him to be sidelined for between three and four months.
Antonio has scored 28 goals and provided 18 assists in 132 matches for West Ham since signing from Nottingham Forest in 2015.