David Moyes admits he will have to get “creative” in order to keep West Ham’s Champions League dream alive.
Injuries have robbed Moyes of two of his key players, Declan Rice and Michail Antonio, for much of the run-in.
Antonio’s latest hamstring problem is a particular blow given Moyes declined the chance to sign a back-up striker in January.
But the Hammers boss has not been afraid to experiment this season, with varying degrees of success.
Left-back Aaron Cresswell has thrived as a third centre-half, right-back Ryan Fredericks has played in midfield, Mark Noble was tried as a number 10 and wingers Jarrod Bowen and Andriy Yarmolenko have led the attack.
Now Moyes must come up with a formula to beat Leicester, and move to within a point of the third-placed Foxes, at the London Stadium on Sunday.
“We were always aware that we could run into a situation like this,” said Moyes.
“Up until now it has worked very well, we’ve been in a good position with it. We’ll try and keep it going. We will have to look to see how it works.
“There’s a lot of talk of playing with false nines nowadays. Manchester City, probably the team who can most afford to do it, chose to play with false nines and it’s not done them too much damage.
“We need to be a bit creative. I had a situation at Everton where we didn’t have any forwards and we messed around with Tim Cahill as a centre-forward for a while.
“It can happen during a season, you can lose your forwards or defenders but hopefully we’ll have enough options to keep everybody guessing about how we’re going to play.”
The job Moyes has done in guiding West Ham, in danger of relegation last season, into Champions League territory has earned him the nickname ‘The Moyesiah’ from supporters.
When asked if he had heard about his new moniker, the 57-year-old Scot said: “I thought you were going to say ginger nut! It’s certainly not ginger nut now, it’s more grey.
“But if there are nicknames going around, I’ve had a lot of bad ones in my time, so I’m quite happy to take that if that’s what I’ve been given.”