Jarrod Bowen injury: West Ham set for late call on star for Bayer Leverkusen clash

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

West Ham manager David Moyes will wait until the last possible moment before deciding if Jarrod Bowen can face Bayer Leverkusen in Thursday’s crucial Europa League quarter-final second leg, but insists he will not risk the forward’s long-term fitness.

Bowen sat out last week’s first leg, and Sunday’s home defeat to Fulham, with a back injury sustained at Wolves days earlier, but was able to take part in training with the squad at Rush Green on Wednesday.

West Ham must become the first team, across any competition, to beat Leverkusen this season to have any chance of reaching another European semi-final following a 2-0 defeat in Germany last week.

With Lucas Paqueta ruled out because of suspension, Moyes desperately needs top-scorer Bowen available to bolster his attack and there is fresh hope after the 27-year-old came through training on Wednesday.

“It was great to see him out there, it was the first time we’ve had him out,” Moyes said. “Not sure yet [if he will be involved], we had Kalvin [Phillips] out as well but I’m not sure about him either. Alphonse [Areola] was out as well but I’m not sure about him either. They’ll all be pretty late calls tomorrow.

“Most people know exactly what Jarrod’s done for us over this season, and other seasons also. If he came back it would give us a real lift as well and give the crowd a lift. But overall, we’ve lost Lucas through suspension and we’ve had Jarrod out with injury so we have to find a way of making some magic happen. We have to try and do that tomorrow.”

Bowen has scored 19 times across all competitions so far this season and is firmly in contention to make Gareth Southgate’s England squad for this summer’s European Championship.

Before then, the Hammers have five crucial Premier League matches remaining as they look to qualify for Europe for a fourth season in a row.

“I would never risk any player if I thought they had chance of injury or it wasn’t right,” Moyes added. “The player’s welfare is always the most important thing. But you always want your best players back in, you want goalscorers back in as well. Jarrod’s been that for us this season.”