Under-fire West Ham boss Slaven Bilic could see his tenure salvaged by the return of striker Andy Carroll.
Hammers manager Bilic is said to have a handful of matches remaining to save his job, with the London Stadium outfit enduring a nightmare start to the new Premier League campaign. And reports have already surfaced that Roberto Mancini has emerged as his replacement if results do not improve.
Three defeats in as many games leaves West Ham bottom of the top flight table and desperate to kick-start their season. But owner David Gold and David Sullivan are said to be running out of patience with the Croatian chief.
Injury-prone attacker Carroll didn’t overcome his thigh injury to make the team that lost 3-0 at Newcastle United but is in contention to be back in action when unbeaten Huddersfield are the visitors on Monday. The newly-promoted Terriers come to the capital with two victories and a draw under their belts and the hosts know they are face a stern test against a side brimming with confidence under the guidance of boss David Wagner.
But with a fit-again Carroll leading the line, or even coming off the bench as a goal scoring threat, the West Ham stand a far better chance of securing a morale-boosting result.
And if Carroll can start chipping in with goals that get results it may serve as a platform for the Hammers to ignite their season and thus, save Bilic his position.
Bilic is acutely aware that Carroll is desperately needed up front. He even admitted he was weighing up picking the lanky frontman to face the Magpies last time out, but the former Newcastle hitman couldn’t win the fitness race. Bilic said: “It was very tempting to play him. When he is fit we all know he is a major player.”
The manager oversaw a disappointing campaign last season in which the Hammers flirted with relegation before pulling clear of the dogfight and finishing in 11th position in the table.