Slaven Bilic dealt a hammer blow with Enner Valencia injury

West Ham striker Enner Valencia has suffered an apparently “significant” injury to his right knee and right ankle in the Europa League clash with Astra Giurgiu.

The Ecuador forward was starting his first game since returning from the Copa America, but was stretchered off with a potentially serious knee injury before half-time.

Manager Slaven Bilic said after the game he feared the injury was serious, and an update from West Ham on Valencia’s health indicated he was right to be worried.

Valencia could face a long absence from first-team availability, but West Ham will wait for him to visit a specialist next week before forecasting how much of the season he stands to miss.

The club said on their website: “Enner Valencia sustained what initially appears to be a significant injury to his right knee and right ankle during Thursday’s UEFA Europa League third qualifying round tie with Astra Giurgiu.

“The Ecuador forward will see a specialist consultant at a clinic in central London on Monday morning and an update will be provided following that meeting.”

The news will come as a blow to the Hammers, who are already without club- record signing Andy Carroll for the start of the season.

Valencia enjoyed an impressive start to his career at Upton Park after joining last summer but his goal in Thursday night’s 2-2 draw was only his third in front of West Ham’s home support.

Diafra Sakho also arrived 12 months ago but he was suspended for the meeting with Astra, although thankfully for Bilic the Senegal international can play the return leg in Romania next week.

Another option in attack is Mauro Zarate–the diminutive Argentinian looking for a fresh start at the club He scored a tremendous solo goal on Thursday and looks more at home than he did under Sam Allardyce.

Despite the hosts going 2-0 up they had to settle for a draw after conceding twice following the 59th-minute sending off of defender James Collins. However, midfielder Mark Noble insists the players will not be disheartened by Astra’s comeback.

“We were disappointed by the result. But if you ask if we are angry and upset I would say no because we have got to try and win on Thursday night and then we have got Arsenal on Sunday.

“With the quality we had on the pitch it could have been a lot more but they had a wonder strike and a freak goal and it made it hard for us. We can’t be upset because if we go into the Premier League feeling sorry for ourselves we’ll get punished


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