By Anthony Onifade

10th Mar, 2023 | 8:40am

West Ham United defender Vladimir Coufal faces 'weeks to months' out of action - Dinnery

West Ham right-back Vladimir Coufal could be on the sidelines for “months” and may undergo surgery after sustaining a heel problem, according to injury expert Ben Dinnery.

Speaking ahead of the Hammers’ UEFA Europa League Conference win over AEK Larnaca, boss David Moyes revealed the Czech international had been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in his heel.

And Dinnery believes there is a possibility that Coufal could be a long-term absentee after his heel problem was confirmed as plantar fasciitis.

Speaking to GiveMeSport [9 March], he said: “With plantar fasciitis, it is really difficult to put any kind of definitive timeline on it. Potentially, he could be looking at anything from weeks to months.

“It’s a loading issue, so you have to ease back and have conservative treatment in the first instance. If he doesn’t respond, although most do and I think over 80 per cent would respond favourably, he would even have to go down the surgery route.”

Huge blow

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With the Hammers steeped in a nerve-wracking relegation dogfight, losing Coufal’s experience and mentality comes as a huge blow for Moyes and his team.

The Scottish manager certainly needs all the quality he can get right now as his side currently sit 16th in the Premier League table.

However, Coufal’s injury hands academy star Ben Johnson with a chance to impress not just for the remaining weeks but for the future, as the Hammers could well be looking at their long-term replacement for the Czech who remains out of contract this summer.

Johnson has impressed when called upon in recent weeks, after suffering from a lack of game time earlier in the season and this is his chance to stake a claim to Moyes and the club bosses, especially with the club set to undergo a stark squad rebuild for next summer.