Dan Coker's Match Preview
With England’s upcoming match against Montenegro tomorrow, here’s a look at the Hammers’ only Montenegrin connection, plus an opportunity to provide an update on West Ham’s loaned contingent.
Sead Haksabanovic was born on 4th May 1999 in Hyltebruk, Sweden, and began his career with Swedish side Halmstads, making his debut in April 2015 at the age of just 15. Having represented Sweden at youth levels, Haksabanovic made his international senior debut for Montenegro in a 4-1 2018 World Cup qualification victory over Armenia on 10th June 2017 – the attacking midfielder’s entire family is from Montenegro. He scored 13 goals in 70 appearances for Halmstads before moving to West Ham for £2.7m in August 2017, having previously had trials with Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Manchester City.
The 18-year-old Haksabanovic made his debut for Slaven Bilic’s West Ham on 19th September 2017 in a 3-0 League Cup third round win over Bolton at London Stadium – his second, and most recent, appearance in claret and blue was under David Moyes in a 2-0 FA Cup fourth round defeat at Wigan on 27th January last year. He joined Malaga on loan at the start of this season and made two substitute appearances in the Spanish second tier before the loan was cut short and he joined Swedish side Norrkoping in another loan deal. The Swedish league season starts next Sunday.
With today’s international connections focus being so brief, and also focusing on a player currently out on loan from the club, I thought it might be a decent time to check in on the other players who are currently on temporary deals away from West Ham.
21-year-old attacking midfielder Marcus Browne has made 20 starts in League One this season for struggling Oxford, with a further eight appearances from the bench. He has scored five goals and contributed four assists, playing mostly on the left wing for Karl Robinson’s men. He bagged a brace and set up another in a 4-2 win over Rochdale in late November. A further ten appearances, three goals and one assist have been recorded in the domestic cups.
Norwegian international Martin Samuelsen, who turns 22 next month, has made seven starts and five sub appearances for VVV-Venlo in the Dutch league and cup this season. His two goals for the club both came in the KNVB Cup in a 3-0 win at Westlandia in late September. He has not played a minute of senior football since before Christmas, being an ever-present on the bench since the end of the winter break. His loan spell in the Netherlands was cut short in mid-February; he joined Norwegian side Haugesund in another loan deal. The Norwegian league season starts next Sunday.
26-year-old Jordan Hugill has made 22 starts in all competitions for Middlesbrough this season, with a further 12 appearances from the bench. He has scored seven goals for the club, including a double in a 2-0 home win over Wigan in November and a last-minute penalty to equalise in a 1-1 home draw with Millwall in January.
25-year-old right-back Sam Byram suffered horrendous luck early on his loan spell at Nottingham Forest, making one Championship and two League Cup appearances for the club before succumbing to serious injury in the 39th minute of a League Cup second round match at home against Newcastle on August 29th. He has not featured since.
Edimilson Fernandes has made 21 league and cup starts for Fiorentina this season, with a further six appearances from the bench. The 22-year-old Swiss international has two goals and two assists to his name in Serie A this season, setting up two goals in a 3-3 draw at Sassuolo and scoring in a 1-1 draw at Udinese and a 4-1 win at SPAL.
Toni Martinez made a good start to his loan spell with Spanish second tier outfit Rayo Majadahonda in August, scoring on his league debut in a 2-1 defeat at Real Zaragoza. He made eight starts for the club and ten sub appearances, with one further goal coming in a 2-1 defeat at Tenerife in November. Martinez switched loan clubs in January, joining Lugo, and scored on his debut for his new club against the one he’d just left, Rayo Majadahonda, in a 3-2 win on 26th January. Martinez has made five starts and three substitute appearances for Lugo, but the strike against his previous side remains his only goal so far for the club.
Central midfielder Josh Cullen, who turns 23 in a fortnight, has made 20 starts for Lee Bowyer’s promotion-chasing Charlton in League One this season. His season was disrupted by a dislocated shoulder but he has contributed four assists and recently been called up to the Republic of Ireland’s senior squad. He has played every minute for Charlton since his return from injury in January.
19-year-old left-back Vashon Neufville has only made two appearances for Newport since joining the Welsh club in January. He starred in their FA Cup third round win over Leicester on his debut but has only played one match in League Two, in a 3-0 defeat at Grimsby at the start of February.
23-year-old midfield man Moses Makasi has made 12 appearances for League Two Stevenage since his January switch, mainly featuring in a wide role. He has one assist to his name and played just over an hour in yesterday’s 2-2 draw at Macclesfield.
Joe Powell, who made his Hammers debut in September’s 8-0 League Cup win over Macclesfield, joined League Two side Northampton in January. The 20-year-old attacking midfielder has made four starts for Keith Curle’s Cobblers, and three substitute appearances. He has scored two goals, the most recent being an 88th-minute 30-yard winner in a 1-0 home victory over Newport earlier this month – this goal came just two minutes after Powell had come off the bench.
21-year-old centre-forward Oladapo Afolayan, who joined West Ham from Solihull Moors last February, has started twice for Oldham in League Two since joining in January, and made two further sub appearances. He was briefly under the management of Manchester United and England great Paul Scholes until his recent resignation at the Latics.
Finally, 20-year-old Reece Oxford returned to Germany in January, signing a loan deal with Bundesliga side Augsburg. He has made four starts and one brief sub appearance for the Bavarian club. He helped his team to a clean sheet in a 1-0 cup win at Holstein Kiel but his league starts have seen a 4-0 defeat at Werder Bremen, a 3-2 home loss to Bayern Munich and a 5-1 defeat at Freiburg. He has not featured in his side’s last three games, in which the club have picked up two wins and a draw.