West Ham United travel to Newport County in the Carabao Cup this evening looking to avoid an upset at their first hurdle in the competition.
The Exiles were cup giant-killers in the FA Cup last season knocking out Leicester City and Middlesbrough; whilst Michael Flynn’s side lost in the League Two play-off final.
For West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini the game will probably be used to run the rule over some of the fringe players in his squad.
The game could be an important one for Jack Wilshere.
Having started the first two games of the season, the ex-Arsenal man missed the win over Watford with an injury – although it has been confirmed it was just a precaution.
Wilshere was withdrawn at half-time against Brighton having endured a thoroughly miserable 45 minutes against the Seagulls.
He missed the vast majority of last season with an ankle injury and perhaps needs to build up his fitness during a series of cameo roles from the bench.
Given that tonight sees the Hammers play League Two opposition, however, this could be the ideal chance for Wilshere to offer a timely reminder of his qualities.
Players boasting 34 England caps don’t become bad players overnight. Indeed, players with such an amount of international experience are worth persisting with.
Pellegrini took a chance on Wilshere when Arsenal deemed him surplus and the Chilean won’t be washing his hands of the £100,000-a-week (Spotrac) performer just yet.
For the first time in many seasons, there is a real sense that West Ham can achieve something this season.
One thing that perhaps doesn’t work in Wilshere’s favour, however, is that Pellegrini now has two players for pretty much every position.
With Noble deputising in midfield on Saturday, the Hammers also have Manuel Lanzini and Carlos Sanchez who are both capable of standing in for the midfielder.
Wilshere faces a real fight this season to not only remain fit but also to put up a fight for his regular place in Pellegrini’s team.
The cup game against Newport could be an ideal chance for him to get into his stride and this evening looks like being a massive game for Wilshere, should he get the nod to play.