West Ham United v Dinamo Zagreb – UEFA Europa League Group H – London Stadium – Thursday (8pm) – Preview
Brian Dear is excited at the prospect of seeing one or two of West Ham United’s bright prospects in action when they conclude their UEFA Europa League Group H fixtures with a visit from Croatian outfit, Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday evening.
The Group-topping Hammers have already secured their qualification and with other domestic matches coming thick and fast in and around the festive period, Dear expects boss, David Moyes to ring the changes.
“Sensibly, I’ve no doubt David will rotate the squad and give game time to the likes of Noble, Král, Vlašić and Yarmolenko, but it could also provide an opportunity for Sonny Perkins,” Dear enthused.
An attacking midfielder, Perkins has represented England at youth level and was handed his top team debut for the Hammers when arriving as a second-half substitute in the 2-0 over Rapid Vienna last month; “It could be a perfect opportunity for the boy, and one or two others, to get time around the squad.
“The boy looked busy after coming on in Austria. It would be smashing to see him get another opportunity, particularly in front of a big crowd at the London Stadium.”
Nevertheless, Dear has urged the Hammers to finish their group matches on a high: “We want to remain unbeaten,” he added.
“It always sends out a message, suggesting to other teams that really don’t want to be drawing us in the next round. The feel-good factor has returned following the dramatic win over Chelsea. Everyone is genuinely excited about the next game, which is terrific.
“We need to take the game seriously. The integrity of the tournament is important. Dinamo will secure their progress if they win. KRC Genk will get through if they win and Dinamo lose. We have to play our part to the full.
“But from a West Ham perspective, it is encouraging that whatever team we put out, I fancy us to get a result. European success made our team from 1965 legends. I’d love to see the current team write a piece of history for themselves and give the fans something to be proud of from the modern-day Hammers.”
Brian Dear’s prediction: West Ham United 2-1 Dinamo Zagreb
Jeevesie’s prediction: West Ham United 1-0 Dinamo Zagreb