West Ham V Stoke at Boleyn Ground : Match Preview
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Vaz Te could be on his way
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce believes Ricardo Vaz Te may have been the target of an illegal approach following a statement issued by the Portuguese winger declaring his disenchantment at Upton Park.
The 26-year-old has gradually fallen down the pecking order at West Ham, with the likes of Joe Cole, Matt Jarvis and Stewart Downing having joined the Hammers in the last 12 months.
Vaz Te scored the winning goal in the Championship play-off final that sealed West Ham's return to the top flight and also impressed during their first season back in to the Barclays Premier League last season.
A dislocated shoulder in the 3-1 home defeat to Arsenal curtailed Vaz Te's season but the player, who also worked under Allardyce at Bolton, has said he is disappointed with his situation at West Ham.
The timing of his statement, with just a matter of days remaining of the summer transfer window, has left Allardyce questioning the reasoning behind making such comments public.
"If anybody's going to leave now it'll be Vaz," he said. "You don't keep anybody that doesn't want to stay. If a club comes in to make the right offer for him we'll be more than happy to accommodate the transfer request he's given us.
"Generally when you make [a statement] like that, they've been tapped up. Someone would've probably already contacted him.
"I am expecting a bid for him in the next couple of days because you don't do that sort of thing this late in the transfer window.
"I would expect in the next couple of days we will have an inquiry. If not he's put himself in a difficult position having said what he's said if he doesn't have another club lined up."
Whether Vaz Te, who scored a free-kick in the Hammers' 2-1 Capital Cup second round win over Cheltenham on Tuesday, will be considered for selection at home to Stoke on Saturday remains to be seen.
George McCartney and Andy Carroll remain sidelined for the visit of Mark Hughes' Stoke with young midfielder Ravel Morrison pushing for his first league start for the Hammers.
Stoke striker Peter Crouch comes back into contention for the trip.
Crouch missed Wednesday's midweek Capital One Cup win over Walsall due to illness, but will be vying for the lead forward role alongside Kenwyne Jones following the latter's hat-trick against the Saddlers.
The Potters have only one player out through injury, with midfielder Jamie Ness still struggling with a thigh problem.
Hughes is convinced he can turn the club into a top-10 success in the Barclays Premier League despite enduring a frustrating summer transfer window.
Predecessor Tony Pulis was sacked at the end of last season after taking Stoke as far as the club's hierarchy felt he could, and with chairman Peter Coates wanting to push City in a different direction.
Despite five consecutive seasons in the top flight, a number of cup runs and a Europa League adventure, Pulis failed to attain a top-10 league finish during his tenure.
It has now fallen on Hughes to take Stoke to the next level, only for the Welshman to suffer continual frustration in his bid to strengthen the squad this summer.
Hughes has only signed defenders Erik Pieters and Marc Muniesa, along with bringing in forward Oussama Assaidi on loan from Liverpool.
With the window closing at 11pm on Monday, a disappointed Hughes said: "We would have liked to have done more business to this point.
"But it's been more difficult than most windows. We've pursued a number of targets, got so far with them - and in some cases we were very close - but then all of a sudden it just fell away.
"They've not been for the same reasons, but very different reasons, with regard to almost every one of them.
"That's been frustrating because you put in a huge amount of work, try and get everything in a line, you think you've done it, and then all of a sudden a piece (of the jigsaw) doesn't correctly fit, and it can't be done.
"That's what we've experienced this window, although we're still hopeful."
The Potters now face a so-far unbeaten West Ham at Upton Park on Saturday, with Hughes expecting a positive result.
"We have been encouraged by the way we have played, although we all feel we can play better," said Hughes.
"But confidence comes from winning games, and that's what we've gained from back-to-back wins, so we're pleased with that."
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