The manager revealed in his press conference this morning that the striker has a 50/50 chance of making the game and with normal progress you would expect that to rise to 80/20 by kick off time.
As a former manager myself I’ve had a lot of players tell me they are ready to play and found to my cost they weren’t. You learn fast to make your own mind up and I am sure Sam will take the decision away from the lad.
I’ve always been a firm believer too that if a guy isn’t fit to start, he isn’t fit to be on the bench so iSam has to be 100 per cent sure of Diafra.
Should he not be ready then I imagine the manager will go with Kevin Nolan who remains a goalscorer and with the level of competition in the squad will be well motivated for the game.
He also gives the advantage of being suited to an awkward away game where if the pressure does come on he can drop back into midfield. I’d have Mauro Zarate on the bench should we need to change things after an hour.
People are saying that the Stoke central defenders will give Diafra too hard a handling if he does play but let me tell you as a former striker, there are no central defenders in any team who don’t want to you up.
With him or without him, I fancy us to win against Stoke who have had a patchy start to the season and the degree of difficulty involved will depend in which Stoke turn up!
One thing I am absolutely certain of is that they will be more worried about us than vice versa because you can almost feel the confidence in the Hammers squad.
I reckon we’ll win it 2-1