West Ham’s German international midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger will be out for four months after surgery on a thigh problem.
Former Aston Villa trainee Hitzlsperger was one of Avram Grant’s first signings when he joined the Hammers in the summer from Lazio on a free transfer, but hasn’t been fit enough to play for the team so far.
The injury stems from early August, when Hitzlsperger incurred a torn thigh muscle playing for Germany against Denmark, ruling him out of the start of the season.
He was out for eight weeks and resumed training last week only for the injury to recur and leave him with no choice but to go under the knife.
This news will be a blow for the Hammers as they try to pull themselves out of the relegation places.
On Saturday, West Ham travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers in a key relegation match-up – West Ham are 9/4 to beat Wolves.
West Ham will be hopeful of a victory as Wolves haven’t won since the opening day of the season and haven’t enjoyed terrific home form since they were promoted.
Only relegated Portsmouth picked up fewer points than they did at home last season, and Wolves only have four points from a possible nine at home this season.
Odds of 5/4 on them winning seem quite slim on the face of it, but this is only because the Hammers have picked up just the one point on their travels this season.
They have though taken a win and two draws from their last three matches and at 9/4 could be a decent punt.
Both sides are being tipped to be involved in the battle to stay up this season.
The Hammers are ranked at 11/8 to beat the drop, with their opponents slightly lower at 5/4.
This game will be crucial in deciding who’s fighting for their lives at the end of the season.
It’s 11/2 for Wolves and West Ham to draw 1-1. see the full Barclays Premier League betting odds market here.