West Ham United travel across London to take off AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday evening, and they could be boosted by the return of a defender, according to their official website.
With safety in the Premier League looking near enough a certainty, there is no reason for the Hammers not to take the cup extremely seriously and go in search of an elusive trophy, which could see Manuel Pellegrini resisting the temptation to make wholesale changes for the tie.
West Ham overcame the challenge of Birmingham City in the previous round, and their reward for that was a second clash with the League One outfit this season, having already dumped Wimbledon out of the Carabao Cup earlier in the campaign.
Pellegrini’s men were ruthless that night, and they will be out to deliver a similar performance when the Hammers take on the Wombles once again.
West Ham could have defender Ryan Fredericks back for the first time since November. He has returned to training recently, and played 45 minutes for the under-23 side in midweek and is in line to be in the squad on Saturday evening.
Manuel Lanzini appears to be nearing a return to action too, which will be a massive boost to the Hammers over the remainder of the season. He has resumed light work after a serious knee injury but will not be rushed back.
Pellegrini has suggested that he will use his West Ham squad wisely when he takes his team to Kingston to face the League 1 strugglers.
One man who could be in the Hammers’ line up is Marko Arnautovic, after the Austrian forward declared his intention to remain at the London Stadium until the end of the season at least.
That confession will be a big boost to West Ham, but they know the best way to hold onto their players is to challenge for silverware, so they will be keen to see off Wimbledon, and move to within three wins of a place in the FA Cup final.