West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini hopes the imminent return of Jack Wilshere can provide a “good injection” for his team.
Wilshere has not played since the start of December as he continues to battle ankle problems. but the 27-year-old midfielder has been stepping up his recovery and recently turned out for the under-23s.
Samir Nasri and Manuel Lanzini both look set to miss Saturday’s home Premier League match against Leicester and while Pellegrini is mindful not to rush Wilshere back too soon, he believes the former England midfielder can have a positive impact when fully fit.
“We will see tomorrow how he feels. He’s played already one game for the under-23s. We will talk with him, but it will be soon,” said Pellegrini, who confirmed Wilshere had been training “without problem” as he steps up his recovery.
“This week or next week. He will play some games before the end of the season.”
The West Ham boss added: “I think he is a midfielder that we need because in that position we have so many times all of those injuries. The return for Jack to the team will be a good injection for the team.”
Forward Marko Arnautovic has recovered from the illness which saw him miss last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Manchester United.
Javier Hernandez will be monitored after an ear problem stopped him from taking part in full training for a couple of days.
West Ham host the Foxes having lost three successive matches, winning just two of the past seven.
Pellegrini, though, feels it has overall been a solid season of progress from some of their previous struggles – and one which could yet end with the club in the top 10.
“Having so many important players injured for so long is not easy, but always, I feel we can do it better,” Pellegrini said at a press conference reported by the club.
“There are a lot of results that we could have improved. Maybe for this season, it is OK.”
West Ham have finally installed their long-awaited claret-coloured pitch surround at the London Stadium, which will be officially unveiled at the Leicester game.
A crowd-surfing banner and pyro display will greet the players ahead of Saturday’s match.
Pellegrini said: “It is a good idea to have it the colour of our club, so I think it is an improvement.
“It will help with the aesthetic, but also to define the pitch also.”