Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini hopes injured captain Vincent Kompany can return to training next week.
Kompany has endured a season ravaged by persistent calf problems, starting only eight Premier League games and cutting short his substitute return during the 4-1 win over Sunderland on Boxing Day after only nine minutes.
Earlier this month, Pellegrini heightened fears the central defender’s latest setback could mean a lengthy absence, telling a news conference that he may not feature until “the last part of the season”.
Having conceded last week that Kompany was “worried about his situation” Pellegrini was more optimistic when speaking ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to West Ham.
“Vincent is seeing different specialists to learn more about his injury,” he said.
“He will start working, I hope, next week – we’ll see.”
Pellegrini will welcome back Fernandinho from a muscle injury at Upton Park, although the calf strain sustained by Aleksandar Kolarov during last weekend’s 4-0 win against Crystal Palace means the left-back joins fellow defender Eliaquim Mangala (hamstring) and Wilfried Bony (calf) on the sidelines.
“Aleks has a muscle injury in his calf – not very big. I hope at the end of the next week he’ll be working with the squad,” Pellegrini explained.
“Bony maybe has an injury which is longer than we supposed. I hope next Monday he will start working with the squad.”
West Ham halted City’s five-match 100 per cent start to the Premier League season with a battling 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium in September.
Pellegrini’s men have only managed consecutive league wins once since that loss – a statistic he is keen to remedy in east London.
“We have a difficult game against a very good team,” the Chilean added. “They beat us here at home earlier this season in a match I think we had 20 chances to score but we didn’t do it.
“I hope we will go for the three points and that we will demonstrate why we’re involved in the title [race].
“I think that our mentality is to be an attacking team – maybe a lot of times you cannot score but we always create chances. If you create chances and score four goals as we did last time, I’m always happy. It’s the best way to win titles for me.”