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Areola in West Ham goal for Conference League final

Alphonse Areola will be looking to continue his perfect Europa Conference League campaign as he starts in the West Ham goal in the final against Fiorentina in Prague on Wednesday.

The Frenchman, who is manager David Moyes’s second-choice for the Premier League behind Lukasz Fabianski, has so far played all West Ham’s Conference League games this season.

Luka Jovic, with six goals so far in the competition, and Nicolas Gonzalez start for Fiorentina, with Arthur Cabral — the joint top-scorer in the competition with seven goals — on the bench.

Declan Rice will lead the Hammers as captain in what might be his last game for the club before a summer move, with Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United keen to sign the England midfielder.

Fiorentina are without midfielder Gaetano Castrovilli, struggling with a knee injury.

“I can confirm that Gaetano has suffered an injury and he hasn’t recovered yet. We’re disappointed about that,” said coach Vincenzo Italiano.

Otherwise, he and Moyes have nearly full squads at their disposal apart from long-term injury absences such as Fiorentina goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu and West Ham striker Gianluca Scamacca.

Fiorentina last won a European trophy in 1961 when they lifted the now-defunct Cup Winners’ Cup.

West Ham followed suit in 1965 and that triumph is also their last in Europe to date.

The winners will secure a place in next season’s Europa League, a tantalising prospect for both teams who have failed to qualify for European competition from their leagues.

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