West Ham's head of medical and sports science, Stijn Vandenbroucke, has provided an extensive update on the fitness of several players ahead of their trip to Manchester United on 13 March. The in-form Hammers visit Old Trafford for an FA Cup quarter-final meeting in confident mood, with last weekend's rousing Premier League comeback against Everton providing their fourth consecutive victory in all competitions, keeping their lingering hopes of cracking the top four very much alive.
Slaven Bilic's men trailed 2-0 entering the final 12 minutes on Merseyside, but eventually made their numerical advantage count as late efforts from Michail Antonio, Diafra Sakho and the influential Dimitri Payet secured all three points after Romelu Lukaku had seen a potentially penalty saved by Adrian.
West Ham were forced to make one change for that match from the side that recently dented Tottenham Hotspur's title bid, with academy graduate Reece Oxford handed his first start since the opening day of the season. Such a decision was made as a result of a hamstring problem sustained by James Collins, and it looks as if the 17-year-old centre-back could be called into action again with Winston Reid only due to return to first-team training on Friday (11 March).
"We had a very positive week last week, with three Barclays Premier League victories in the space of eight days, including our home win over Tottenham Hotspur and the fantastic comeback at Everton," Vandenbroucke told the club's official website. "Unfortunately, James Collins suffered a hamstring injury in the Spurs game. This was the first injury he has suffered this season and we hope to recover him after the international break.
"Enner Valencia, Victor Moses and Joey O'Brien all rejoined training earlier this week after recovering from a right high ankle sprain, a quadriceps injury and hamstring problem respectively. Winston Reid is going to join training on Friday.
"Winston is in the last stages of his hamstring rehab and needs a good training block with the team. James Tomkins is in the final stage of his rehabilitation after recovering from the calf injury he suffered at Southampton on 6 February, and he will start training again next week."
The win over Everton marked only Sakho's second appearance for West Ham since November. The Senegalese striker has endured a difficult spell after undergoing surgery to correct a thigh injury, although Vandenbroucke was full of praise for his commitment during that lengthy recovery process.
"We were delighted to see Diafra Sakho come through his return to the team successfully, with a goal and an assist at Everton on Saturday," he added. "Diafra worked extremely hard to recover from his quadriceps injury and showed great professionalism in his approach to what was a very complex rehab. We naturally hope he will continue to enjoy this form and fitness until the end of the season and beyond."