West Ham captain Kevin Nolan suffers broken toe

Hammers will put the midfielder through intensive treatment

West Ham are confident intensive treatment will ensure a swift return to action for Kevin Nolan after it was confirmed the captain has suffered a broken toe.

The 30-year-old midfielder exacerbated a foot injury in Monday's 3-2 Barclays Premier League loss to Tottenham and will miss Saturday's match at Stoke.

But with over two weeks before the next match at Chelsea on March 17, Press Association Sport understands the Hammers skipper will be subject to rigorous treatment to ensure a speedy return.

West Ham were due to face Manchester United on March 9, but United are in the FA Cup quarter-finals that weekend.

The challenge by Mousa Dembele on Nolan angered West Ham boss Sam Allardyce, who today deferred his pre-match press conference duties to assistant Neil McDonald.

The possibility remains that the 30-year-old will miss a significant portion of the final 11 matches, with the Hammers' top-flight safety still to be assured.

"His toe's very, very sore," McDonald said.

"He's had problems in the past with it - all season really - and he got a really good kick on it.

"I'd imagine he'll not be available for Saturday and we'll see how the results come back and we'll see where he's at.

"He has been playing through the pain barrier. We'll assess it in the next couple of days."

United sit 14th on 30 points ahead of the trip to the Britannia Stadium to play Stoke this weekend, but have just three wins in 18 games in all competitions.

McDonald admits he is anxious but is trying to encourage the squad to look upwards, rather than worry about their six-point cushion to the relegation zone.

"We've always looked up the table this season," McDonald added.

"We've always tried to get into the top 10 and with a good result on Saturday we can push ourselves a little bit closer to that.

"The away form hasn't been as good as what we would've liked.

"I think our home form's been really, really good, even though we've lost a couple.

"We have to address that. We have to be a little bit more physical away from home and make sure we keep things tight, try to keep a clean sheet.

"If we can do that, that gives us a good chance to get back to winning ways on our away form."

With Allardyce's contract set to expire this summer and discussions on hold until then as the Hammers' league fate is determined, comparisons could be drawn with the situation at Chelsea.

Rafael Benitez attacked Chelsea for giving him the title of "interim manager".

Asked for his comments on Benitez's rant, McDonald said: "He's obviously frustrated.

"It's always difficult coming into a football club not being the 'manager'.

"He hasn't had the results he probably wanted but at the same time he's trying to do his best. That's all you can do as a manager.

"We're all in the same situation. If we don't get the results we're under pressure and if the team's not playing as well as what it has done in the past, then the crowd have got every right to voice their opinions and that's what he's had to deal with at the moment."

PA

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