David Moyes believes Danny Ings can fire West Ham to Premier League survival, starting against his old club Aston Villa.
Ings joined the Hammers in January for £12million to boost a shot-shy attack and already has two goals to his name.
Michail Antonio scored twice in the 2-0 Europa Conference League win at AEK Larnaca in midweek, but he picked up a knock so Ings is poised to start at the London Stadium on Sunday.
“He could be crucial,” said Hammers boss Moyes. “We’re needing a goalscorer, we’re needing someone who can link us up and keep the ball better and play at different times.
“There will be plenty of games where I need Mick’s sort of robustness and working down the sides of people and round the box, so there will be games where we need that.
“We will have to pick and choose where and when we think it will be right to play them both or play them as individuals.
“It’s always a difficult one when you’re returning to your old club or you’re playing against your old club, 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.
“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.”
West Ham are back on home turf against Villa having spent much of the last few weeks on the road in various competitions.
“We’ve had 10 away from home in our last 14 games, for some reason you’re wondering how that’s worked, but obviously we’ve been drawn away from home in different things,” added Moyes.
“So hopefully there’s a bundle of home games coming up somewhere in the near future which will maybe help us gain a little bit of an advantage.
“It feels like we’ve been away for a long time so hopefully, we can use it and try and perform better. If we perform to the levels that we did in the 4-0 win against Nottingham Forest, we will give ourselves every chance.”