Astra Giurgiu v West Ham

West Ham United will need to be on their best behaviour if they hope to beat Romanian opponents Astra Giugiu in their Europa League third qualifying round, second leg tie in Romania on Thursday.

The Hammers earned a spot in this season's competition via the Premier League's Fair Play League, but have had a player sent off in three of their last four continental matches.

Having eased passed Lusitanos in the first round, in which Diafra Sakho was sent off in the second leg, West Ham needed a penalty shootout to beat Birkirkara in the second qualifying round after a James Tomkins' red card in the second leg allowed Maltese side back into the tie.

The East Londoners' ill-discipline again put their future in the tournament at risk in the first leg of this tie against Astra.

They were cruising at 2-0 up at home with just 30 mins of the tie to play when James Collins received his marching orders for a second bookable offence, flipping the match on its head.

Astra fought back, levelling matters by scoring two away goals to put themselves firmly in the driver's seat to qualify for the group stage of the competition.

It is fair to say West Ham have been their own worst enemy so far and will only have themselves to blame if they fail to make it through.

That being said, the club's manager Slaven Bilic has openly criticised the officiating so far and has been frustrated by the amount of injuries his players have received in Europa League games.

Getting knocked out of the competition at this stage, though, might have become part of the plan with speculation mounting the Croatian boss is planning to put out a second-string side on Thursday to protect his squad ahead of the new Premier League season.

English clubs have a long-held distain for Europe's second tier competition and its apparent affect on league form but, with a place in next season's Champions League available to the winner, it seems a bit short-sighted to throw in the towel this early.

Enner Valencia will miss the second leg for West Ham after picking up a knee injury, while Collins is on the sidelines through suspension.

The home side have a full squad to choose from with no fresh injury news to report, while former West Brom midfielder Felipe Teixeira is in line to make his debut.

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