David Moyes backs Danny Ings to haunt old club and solve West Ham’s goal woes in Gianluca Scamacca admission
With his side struggling badly for goals throughout the first half of the season, Moyes paid £12million to sign Ings from Villa during the January transfer window but a minor knee injury limited his early involvement.
After a string of substitute appearances, though, Ings has started each of the Hammers’ last two Premier League games, cutting a near-anonymous figure in Saturday’s thrashing at Brighton but before that opening his account with a quickfire double in the vital win over Nottingham Forest.
The 30-year-old had effectively been deemed surplus to requirements by new Villa boss Unai Emery before being sold, with Ollie Watkins instead thriving under the Spaniard’s management, but Moyes believes he will be crucial for the Hammers’ survival hopes.
“It’s always a difficult one when you’re playing against your old club,” Moyes said. “Sometimes it can go big in your favour, sometimes it can’t, it’s just the way it is, you never know how it works out.
“But if anybody would know much about Aston Villa it would be Danny, but obviously they will know plenty about Danny as well so it works both ways. We want to get Danny in the goals.
“He could be [crucial], we’re needing a goalscorer, we’re needing someone who can link us up and keep the ball better and play at different times.”
Ings’ arrival came just six months after the Hammers had shelled out £30.5m to sign Gianluca Scamacca from Italian side Sassuolo and, along with Michail Antonio, Moyes now has three centre-forward options at his disposal.
Antonio scored both goals in Thursday night’s Europa Conference League victory over AEK Larnaca, but Ings was given the night off as Scamacca replaced the Jamaican late on and he is expected to lead the line come Sunday.
“We brought Gianluca in to give Antonio competition but then Gianluca had an injury and we weren’t scoring, we couldn’t get any goals from any of them, so we went down the route of getting someone tried and tested,” Moyes continued.
“That’s the way it is, I can see why you’re asking because we’ve got three and how’s that going to work if it goes into one? It’s not easy to work out who’s not going to play and who is going to play but the way we’ve been playing, we’re needing to find a way to get better in many aspects.
“I think first of all, individual form would be the key – I need people to train well and look good so we can give them that opportunity. I’m hoping that all three can do it. Gianluca’s still behind it a bit.”
Let’s be fair, our results at home have been pretty good.
Meanwhile, Moyes is hoping that a run of fixtures at the London Stadium can provide his side with a much-needed prolonged return to form.
A series of away cup draws mean the Hammers have played just four of their 14 matches since the World Cup at home, taking seven points from those games, while six league games on the road since the restart have delivered only two.
“It’s a big game for us, we all know that,” Moyes said of Villa’s visit. “We’re fully aware of it. It seems like every home game in recent weeks has been a really big game, we’ve Everton and Nottingham Forest, Chelsea in between that as well and let’s be fair, our results at home have been pretty good.
“So, we have to maintain that because our form away from home at the moment is not stacking up so hopefully, we can keep that sort of better looking form at home.”