West Ham United have been handed a huge boost on the injury front with the news that striker Diafra Sakho is nearing full fitness.
The Senegal international has only managed 90 minutes once this season before undergoing back surgery to correct an ongoing health issue.
2016 has been a very difficult year ????…..but I hope to come bk stronger in 2017 & score again for u fans. Thank u for all of ur support ????????
— Diafra Sakho (@iamdiafrasakho) December 1, 2016
That problem has been resolved now, though, and the player is reportedly training with the U23 side over the international break to regain fitness.
If that two week period goes well, Hammers fans can expect to see Sakho back and challenging for a starting spot in the first team for the London derby with Arsenal on April 5.
Stijn Vandenbroucke, Head of Medical and Sports Science at the club, confirmed the news before declaring how much of a boost the return of the 27-year-old would be to the squad at the London Stadium.
“He is now fully fit physically but it’s now a case of getting himself up to match fitness,” Vandenbroucke told ClaretandHugh.
“He has been sorely missed but the surgery has been described as a complete success and we expect to have him available for seven or eight games of the season. Everybody know what a good player he is and it will give the squad a major boost.”
West Ham are currently in the midst of a poor run in the Premier League, with Saturday’s defeat to Leicester City making it a dismal five games without a win.
Injuries have continued to plague the Hammers throughout the season, particularly in forward areas.
Sakho aside, Andy Carroll is always an injury concern and Enner Valencia left to join Everton on loan in the summer.
With Ashley Fletcher, Simone Zaza and Jonathan Calleri all failing to adapt to Premier League football, Hammers boss Slaven Bilic has been forced to use Michail Antonio up front at times this year.
However, that dreaded injury curse struck again on Saturday, with the former Nottingham Forest man suffering a hamstring problem that caused the player to withdraw from linking up with the England squad this week.
With a striker crisis beginning to emerge, Bilic will be hoping Sakho can find top form and fitness in what is sure to be a testing final period of the season.