David Moyes has warned that Michail Antonio is not even firing on all cylinders yet as the striker prepares to shoot down former boss Sam Allardyce.
Antonio scored his first goal since returning from injury in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Burnley and will lead the line once more against West Brom.
Tuesday night’s reunion with ex-Hammers manager Allardyce will be Antonio’s third game in eight days, despite the concerns over his fitness, as the 30-year-old is West Ham’s only recognised forward.
Moyes, therefore, remains in the market for another striker to ease some of the burden on Antonio’s fragile hamstrings.
But he admitted: “It is really difficult for us at the moment. Although I think if anything Mick has been managing himself in the games well.
“I don’t think he is at full tilt at the moment, I think he is doing well, but I know there are another couple of gears for him to go into.
“I think he is protecting himself slightly at the minute, but he is an important part of the team for us, as you saw with his goal on Saturday.
“He got us the result, so we have got to be careful with him, but we also want to win games and we want to keep moving forward, so we will try and get Micky ready for the game.”
January is a notoriously risky time to do business, but Moyes made successful signings this time last year in Tomas Soucek and Jarrod Bowen.
He added: “I think it helped us greatly last year. I am not sure we would have been a Premier League club if we hadn’t done business last January.
“But it has never been a great window – nobody has got much time and you are not sure of players’ availability.
“But if we can find somebody who we think can add to the squad and help us get better then we are going to try and do that.
“We have had one or two offers for players either rejected or not available or the clubs want too much money in our eyes, so it is not as if we are not trying.
“If we don’t get anybody in then that’s the way it is going to be, but it is a transfer window and we are out there trying.”