Bilic targets ‘three mega games’ for Hammers

Date published: Tuesday 20th September 2016 1:27

Slaven Bilic is desperate to fix West Ham on the pitch while the club work to solve the problems off it.

The Hammers face Accrington in the EFL Cup on Wednesday night reeling from back-to-back 4-2 defeat to Watford and West Brom in the Premier League.

The Hornets game was played to a backdrop of ugly scenes in the crowd at West Ham’s new London Stadium, with fans fighting among themselves and with opposition supporters.

West Ham have moved quickly to increase the segregation between home and away fans, while around 200 supporters who were unhappy at having to sit behind fans who want to stand have been relocated in time for Wednesday’s clash.

A club spokesman said: “It is important that we recognise and address the isolated issues which have arisen at our early games.”

Meanwhile, Bilic has branded the meeting with League Two Stanley as the first of three cup finals for his side.

The Hammers, already in the bottom three following four defeats from their first five matches, then face crucial home games with Southampton and Middlesbrough.

“Very soon it is that time in the league when you can get in trouble,” admitted boss Bilic.

“We have to act, and very soon you can get out of trouble but it isn’t going to happen by default.

“We have to do it. Starting from tomorrow we have three mega games, three cup finals before the next international break.

“This game is a good opportunity for us, it’s an interesting competition for us. It’s good to have a game tomorrow night.”

Bilic will make changes for the third-round clash and is set to hand a debut to former Real Madrid and Spain right-back Alvaro Arbeloa, who arrived as a free agent on deadline day.

Young defender Reece Oxford could also come into the side amid continued speculation surrounding his future.

Oxford, who will be out of contract at the end of next season, has been linked with Arsenal and both Manchester clubs but Bilic revealed talks over a new deal for the 17-year-old are ongoing.

And Bilic has urged Oxford to follow the example of previous West Ham alumni such as Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick, who became regulars with the Hammers before embarking on successful careers.

“There are a few examples of players who had great careers who started at West Ham,” he added.

“Rio plays in his position so it’s very similar. Then Lampard and Carrick. At first they went on loan, short-term, and came back and became regulars at West Ham, and had time to become world-class players.

“I know his representatives are talking to the club and hopefully it will be sorted soon, in a good way.”

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