West Ham manager Sam Allardyce is awaiting the return of midfielders Jack Collison and Alou Diarra following absences through injury.
Collison has been sidelined for six months with a knee problem, while Diarra’s close-season move to east London has been blighted by injuries, limiting him to just a single start against Crewe in the League Cup.
But both are close to a return to action, welcome news for West Ham given Mohamed Diame was ruled out for the next 12 weeks following an injury in the weekend defeat to Liverpool.
Diame’s absence forced Allardyce to field centre-back James Tomkins in midfield against the Reds, but the 58-year-old is reluctant to rush Collison and Diarra back despite the injury crisis.
“Alou Diarra (is close), but he hasn’t played a Premier League game yet, so he hasn’t felt what it is like to play there and that would be difficult for him after a three-month lay-off,” Allardyce told talkSPORT.
“Jack Collison might be close in the next couple of weeks to actually start joining in but he hasn’t kicked a ball since the play-off final last year.
“At least to have the bodies back and bring them on from the subs bench is going to be important to us.”