By Joe Ellis

24th Aug, 2022 | 11:40am

West Ham United: Craig Dawson set to miss Aston Villa clash despite training return

West Ham United look set to be without central defender Craig Dawson for their trip to Aston Villa on Sunday, according to Claret and Hugh.

The 32-year-old has been out of action throughout pre-season and he only returned to training this week and is a certainty to miss the second leg of the Europa Conference League playoff against Viborg in Denmark.

There is a possibility that he could make the bench against Steven Gerrard’s Villans but having had no match practice beforehand and limited time on the grass at Rush Green, it would be a risk.

As a result, there is a chance that Ben Johnson returns to the heart of the Hammers’ defence alongside Kurt Zouma with Thilo Kehrer not impressing on his Premier League debut against Brighton last weekend.

Nayef Aguerd is still some way from being close to fitness which also rules him out and Issa Diop has been sold to Fulham where he had a nightmare debut in the Carabao Cup in a 2-0 defeat against League Two Crawley Town.

Crisis

How on earth have West Ham managed to get themselves in a situation where every centre-half is either injured or not good enough?

Zouma is the only one who has remained match ready and even he isn’t in the best form and let’s not forget that an injury is rarely far away for the Frenchman either.

Dawson, in fairness, is not a player who suffers from a lot of injuries as he proved last season in his near ever-presence but it is not a good sign that Aguerd got himself injured before kicking a competitive ball for the club.

Kehrer can be excused for a bad game, as every player can no matter when it is, so David Moyes should be looking to give him another go against Villa who have not started as well as they would have hoped given the opponents they have faced.

Johnson can’t play centre-half anymore unless there really is no other option but as there is with the German, he has to play no matter what.