West Ham boss Slaven Bilic is toying with a novel idea for the visit of Leicester – playing a right-back at right-back.
The Hammers’ shortage in the position has long been a source of frustration among fans, with Bilic utilising winger Michail Antonio or midfielders Havard Nordtveit and – most recently – Cheikhou Kouyate, as makeshift full-backs.
But an injury to captain Mark Noble means Kouyate will be needed in midfield and could pave the way for Sam Byram to make a rare start.
“He is definitely one of the options,” said Bilic.
“Sam did play this season, and got injured. It was a pretty bad injury, then he came back and played a few games, then Kouyate played in that position.
“Now he’s back to fitness, he came on last week and made a goal, so yeah, maybe. Yes, it would be nice to have a right-back at right-back. It would be very nice.”
Byram has yet to convince Bilic since his move from Leeds in January last year, and that substitute appearance against Bournemouth last Saturday summed up his impact in east London so far.
The 23-year-old overlapped superbly to set up Andre Ayew for West Ham’s equaliser, only to get caught upfield when Bournemouth broke away to score a last-minute winner.
“We spoke about that and I told him that mentality is good, to be positive, to be optimistic,” added Bilic.
“But there are situations towards the end of a game when some of your moves depend on the result.
“I don’t want to take that mentality away from him but then again – and the whole game is about taking a gamble – but in some situations you don’t take that gamble.”
Bilic is plotting further changes after back-to-back defeats as West Ham plan to get back on track against the resurgent Foxes.
Ayew is in line for a start while Robert Snodgrass, another substitute at Dean Court, could also be drafted in.
“Maybe we’re going to do a few changes,” said Bilic.
“Not only because some of the guys didn’t play well, but also because some of the guys have been waiting for their chance, when they came on were really good and deserve the chance to start.
“But I really think that apart from the game against Bournemouth, in 2017 we are playing good and picking up results, also.
“Now it’s about stopping those mistakes and collecting points, and when we are in a good position in a game to manage that game.”