Diafra Sakho
West Ham forward Diafra Sakho has returned to first-team training after being sidelined for three months with a thigh muscle strainGetty

West Ham United have received a triple injury boost ahead of their game against Sunderland with three key players returning to training. The Hammers face a hectic schedule like all the other clubs, which will see them face the Black Cats, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton in the Premier League in the space of eight days before heading to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

Diafra Sakho, Winston Reid and Andy Carroll have returned to training and will be back in action in the first week of March, with the former needing a more cautious approach as he has been out for three months with a thigh muscle strain. The latter two have been out for less than a month and could return sooner, following their return to first-team training and can take part in their games against Tottenham and Everton.

West Ham's head of medical and sports science Stijn Vandenbroucke has stressed on the importance of reintroducing the players back into action with caution and to avoid rushing their return and risk re-injury.

"Diafra Sakho, Winston Reid and Andy Carroll are all back in training and will now spend the next few days building up their fitness," Vandenbroucke wrote on West Ham's official site. "Diafra has obviously been out for three months and will need a bit more time, while Andy and Winston will hope to play some part in the games that we have got coming up next week."

"The planned integration of these players back into the games is very important as they enter the final stages of their rehab/training/playing. The difficult exercise is that the players and staff don't get carried away in the last phase, the return to play phase. We try to integrate each player that returns from injury into games, minimising the risk of a re-injury but maximise the team performance," the head of sports science and medicine explained.

"But I am confident that Sakho, Reid and Carroll will all play their part in a busy schedule for the club when we face Sunderland, Tottenham and Everton in the space of a week. Depending on injuries we will have to see game-by-game who is available and take it from there."