Slaven Bilic will take his place as manager in the Boleyn dugout for the first time this evening as West Ham entertain Maltese side Birkirkara in their second Europa League qualifying tie.

But the Croat will be hoping for goals from other areas, as striker Diafra Sakho is supended after being sent off against minnows FC Lusitans in the first round.

The forward got two goals in the opening tie, and the Hammers have thus far relied heavily on their strikers to supply the goals in their pre-season games.

Nevertheless, a beefier matchday squad is likely to be named this time around, with senior players including Mark Noble and Winston Reid expected to come back into the fray.

Ex-Hammers defender Bilic said: “I’ve been excited from the first day and I’m looking forward to the job, it’s a big privilege. It’s a big club in a big league.

“It’s a special club for me personally. I played here. I enjoyed everywhere as a player but this is the place where I played the best football of my life also. I like this club. It’s a family club. I’m not the only one saying that.

“On the other hand it’s a big obligation of course. If it’s not the best, it’s the toughest League in the world of football. Expctations are huge.”

Birkirkara will be in a buoyant mood after seeing off Armenian side Ulisses 3-1 in the second leg away from home. Both sides were reduced to 10 men, with former Juventus striker Fabrizio Miccoli among the scorers.