West Ham blow as Mark Noble is ruled out for a month
West Ham's bid to climb off the foot of the Barclays Premier League table have been dealt a blow with the news that influential midfielder Mark Noble has been ruled out for a month after having surgery to remove his appendix last night.
The 23-year-old was taken to hospital yesterday after complaining of stomach pains at the Hammers' Chadwell Heath training ground yesterday.
He underwent an hour-long operation at an Essex hospital and is expected to be back in around a month's time.
Noble has performed admirably in the centre of the park with Scott Parker this term in what has been a tough campaign for the east London outfit.
Avram Grant's team sit three points from safety after their latest defeat at the hands of Arsenal on Saturday.
The Israeli, who replaced Gianfranco Zola at the helm this summer, will be under even more pressure should his side not come away from Saturday's match at Birmingham with at least a point.
Grant is short of options in central midfield having seen Thomas Hitzlsperger ruled out until the new year while Kieron Dyer is struggling to regain full fitness following his previous injury problems.
Radoslav Kovac, who has started only one league match so far this year, is the most likely replacement for Noble, who along with Parker and Robert Green has played every match for the Hammers this year.
Former Chelsea boss Grant will be hoping that defensive duo Matthew Upson and Manuel Da Costa will be available for the trip to St Andrew's.
England centre-back Upson missed Saturday's match with a neck injury while Da Costa picked up a knock to his ankle at the Emirates Stadium but it is thought that both should be fit for the weekend.
Latest in Sport
Kevin Garside: Manchester United may have history and tradition but, as David Moyes never realised, a big-time manager always bends such things to his will
Louis van Gaal denies problem with Wilfried Zaha despite Manchester United forward being given no game time
Manchester United latest: Angel Di Maria move no closer as Juan Mata emerges as Louis van Gaal's favoured No 10 as prospect of signing
Arsenal: Arrival of Calum Chambers and David Ospina puts Arsène Wenger's spending past £50m
Tour de France 2014: Vincenzo Nibali confirmed as champion as he puts Italy back on the map with triumph
- 1 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 2 Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 3 Thatcher ‘was warned of Tory child sex party claims’
- 4 Lauren Goodger sex tape: Reality star calls for tougher laws on revenge porn after intimate video leaks online
- 5 The Simpsons Family Guy trailer: First look at crossover episode after Comic-Con debut
Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia