David Moyes says he and his West Ham coaches will have to “get creative” in the absence of Michail Antonio, but has backed Jarrod Bowen to step up.
There are fears Antonio could miss the majority of West Ham’s run-in after sustaining another hamstring injury as they seek to seal an unlikely Champions League finish.
Moyes opted against signing a replacement for former second-choice striker Sebastien Haller following his sale to Ajax in January, but insisted there are no regrets over the decision given the form of loanee Jesse Lingard.
This was a situation that Moyes knew could unfold when that decision was made, but the Scot is confident he and his coaches can find a solution.
“We were always aware that we could run into a situation like this,” said Moyes.
“Up to 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 for a while 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.”
Bowen came off the bench in place of Antonio when he was forced off at Wolves on Monday and scored his second goal in as many games.
The forward, who one of the frontrunners to lead the line in Antonio’s place, said this week that he felt he had his spark back, and Moyes has backed the 24-year-old to continue a strong run of form.
“I’m quite confident that he can continue to play well,” said Moyes.
“He’s been a really good signing for us and he’s scored a few goals recently. If he can continue his form that would be great. I may not play him as a striker, I may play him elsewhere.
“I want to be flexible and where we’re at right now I might have to think outside the box in how I can get something different from the players. But if I have to play Jarrod up front then I’m quite happy to do that because he’s done a good job.”
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