Manuel Pellegrini says injuries will force him to trust and rotate his West Ham squad
Southampton host West Ham on Thursday, live on Sky Sports
Last Updated: 23/12/18 12:13pm
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini says he will have to rotate his squad ahead of the club's upcoming fixtures because of a growing injury list.
The Hammers go into Thursday's game against Southampton, live on Sky Sports, with eight players unavailable for selection.
Pellegrini is hopeful Marko Arnautovic can make a return to action soon, but admits he will need to rotate his team in other areas as the fixtures begin to pile up at the turn of the year.
"We need to play seven games during December and after that six more in January," he said.
"Unfortunately for us we have eight players who are not an option to return. Maybe Marko Arnautovic can return soon, I don't know about Southampton.
"We need to see now about the injuries to Chicharito and Fabian [Balbuena]. That's a big problem but we need to trust the squad and make a good rotation of the players."
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Balbuena limped off shortly after conceding a penalty in Saturday's 2-0 loss to Watford, while Javier Hernandez was substituted in the 75th minute after a struggling to make an impact in the game.
"[Hernandez] had a kick in his back during the week and he couldn't work. In the game he felt the same problem with also some strain in his hamstring," Pellegrini revealed.
"We will see tomorrow what happen with [Balbuena's] knee but if he cannot play then Angelo Ogbonna has demonstrated that he is also a very good centre-back. He has been working very hard so he will have his option - I trust a lot in him."
Pellegrini says he would be happy to finish the first half of the season with West Ham on 27 points after they lost each of their first four league matches.
"It's the last game of the first part of the season. If you had told me that after the four games we lost we could finish on 27 points - I think that would be a good first round for us," he said.
"We know that we have to play a good game against a team who have won their last two. We will try to recover the points that we lost at home."