Sam alone must make Sakho decision

LEROY (1)Big Sam will know how desperate Diafra Sakho will be to play at Stoke on Saturday but he musn’t – nor do I believe he will – allow the player to make the decision on whether he starts.

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



About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

2 comments on “Sam alone must make Sakho decision

  1. I feel we should start with 2 up top and bring Carlton Cole on if Sakho is not going to start. If we have Nolan on he will be sitting deeper and Valencia will be alone up front, I do not feel he will be able to hold the ball up for long enough for Nolan to catch up (Valencia is just too fast for him!). CC would be the better option and offer more support for Valencia, with either Zarate or Nolan coming on later. Still favour us to win, and if we defend like we did against City then I cannot see Stoke scoring. COYI

  2. Hi Leroy,

    I think if Sakho is almost there even not 100% Sam should play him he has scored 7 games in a row and you are not going to pull someone out of the team on that run even if you are not 100% sure of their fitness are you ? Surely better to risk it and substitute him early than damage the confidence / run of a player who believes he will score every game by leaving him out of the squad. I like Kevin Nolan and think he is a great captain but if Sam is going like for like he would have to put Carlton in and leave Nolan on the bench, Nolan doesn’t have the mobility / speed to be an effective cog in a counter attacking team, he is also not brilliant when it comes to closing down space for opponents although he does run around a lot and try hard. He is brilliant at set pieces and when we have the team under pressure in their own box and he has a great calming effect on the team but for me thats not sufficient to start and instead he should stay as part of the bench unless he can find another gear to raise his game in the departments that currently he lacks in. As for Zarate according to a post on this site he had a mystery injury I think ?

Comments are closed.