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West Ham boss David Moyes confident in Michail Antonio fitness ahead of defining fixture run

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That key sequence, stretched across three different competitions, starts at Southampton tonight as the Hammers bid for a place in the last eight of the FA Cup, a stage they have not reached since 2016.

While Antonio’s form has been patchy – the striker has not scored since New Year’s Day following a blistering start to the season – his fitness has been much improved.

The 31-year-old, West Ham’s only senior striker who has also started representing Jamaica this season, has a history of hamstring injuries and has not managed more than 26 Premier League appearances since 2019.

With the Hammers failing to land a striker in the January transfer window, Antonio must step up across a huge 19 days in which they will also face Sevilla in the Europa League last-16 – but Moyes says he is ready.

Asked if he had confidence in Antonio’s fitness after years of problems, Moyes told Standard Sport: “Yeah I do, at the right times we didn’t play him in all the games . If you look at Europe, we’ve tried to manage him.

“He’s added Jamaica to his workload as well. I think Michail is in a far better place physically than he has been for a long, long time.

“He is in better condition, looking after himself, which maybe comes with a bit of age and experience. His record is probably about 24 Premier League games on average per season, so we’ve got to try and get him through more of them if we can.

“He is doing well on the fitness side, keeping himself strong and we all saw an improved Antonio against Wolves”

Antonio has made lifestyle and nutrition changes to aid his fitness this season and is seeing the benefits, an area Moyes says the forward had to tackle to continue leading the line for West Ham as they fight for European football and silverware.

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