West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic says his players are fit and raring to go ahead of their clash with Norwich City on Saturday (February 13) - despite a gruelling cup tie against Liverpool this week.
The Hammers have failed to win in their last 16 visits to Carrow Road and fatigue from the extra-time clash with the Reds is troubling the manager.
The manager believes the players must prove they're ready to dig deep to secure a top six slot in the Premier League and push ahead in the FA Cup. Some comfort comes from Norwich's perilous plight, dropping into the relegation zone after a string of bad results, although the Canaries will be braced for a scrap.
Bilic said: “We have to prove ourselves on both sides. The game against Liverpool is over – we go to Norwich after losing our last league game against Southampton .
"We have to get something from the game but it’s going to be extremely hard. Norwich had a bad spell and have lost five games in a row but five games ago they were in a comfortable situation and during the transfer window they did really well. They spent a lot of money and got really good players.
“They’re fighting to stay in the league and they need the result badly. I am expecting an incredibly tough game but on the other hand we’re confident and if we played like we did against Liverpool and in the majority of games we’ve played this season then we will have a good chance.”
The challenge is all the greater because of West Ham's growing injury list. The likes of defenders Winston Reid and Joey O’Brien are set for lengthy spells on the sidelines with hamstring injuries and James Tomkins will not return to first team action for another five weeks.
Bilic said: “We’ve had a lot of injuries to our defence so in that department it’s not great for us. But in terms of the game we should be fine with the players that suffered knocks on Tuesday. It is a blow that we have so many players out but we will still field a strong team. Alex Song will return to the squad which is good and we have a strong enough team to field on Saturday.”