West Ham boss Slaven Bilic says record signing Andre Ayew could return from injury six weeks earlier than originally feared.
The winger – signed from Swansea City for £20.5 million this month – had to be replaced in the first half of his debut in Monday’s 2-1 Premier League defeat to Chelsea after sustaining a thigh injury.
West Ham had announced that Ayew would miss four months of action as a result and, while that is still possible, Bilic suggested there may be a better outcome.
“For Andre Ayew, there are two solutions, one with surgery and one without,” said the manager ahead of the home Premier League match against Bournemouth.
“We are going to decide which one soon. He could be out for two and a half months or up to four. It shouldn’t be more. He could be back this year and we just have to hope.
“I spoke to Andre five minutes ago and he’s good. He’s very optimistic and up for everything and is professional.”
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The match on Sunday will be West Ham’s first Premier League game at their new London Stadium and comes almost a year to the day after they lost 4-3 at home to Eddie Howe’s men.
“Don’t expect as many goals this season against Bournemouth as last time,” added Bilic.
“We analysed that game and we were disappointed to concede some. I expect us to be more solid.
“Our stadium is not intimidating until we make it that way with the quality of our game. We felt the atmosphere was great there in the two games.
“We have already played two games at the new stadium, but what we need to settle is to win and hopefully that will come on Sunday.
“If it’s packed and we play good football, it will guarantee the atmosphere will be great.”
The clash with Bournemouth comes hot on the heels of Bilic’s side drawing 1-1 in Romania against Astra on Thursday in the first leg of their Europa League play-off tie.
Bilic continued: “We got home at 5am last night, but we have a big game in two days so the focus is on that.
“It’s tough, but we knew the situation. It’s not like after Christmas when you need to recharge the batteries. I don’t see it as a problem. We knew about this situation.
“We want to be in a position to qualify and we are. Hopefully we are going to make it next Thursday.”