David Moyes has dismissed the prospect of Joe Hart making a premature return to Manchester City as the West Ham United loanee looks set to once again make do with a place on the substitutes' bench for Wednesday night's (13 December) latest London derby against Arsenal.
Hart, after a run of 14 successive league appearances, was ineligible to feature during a 2-1 defeat to his parent club earlier this month. Deputy Adrian took advantage of such an absence with a string of fine saves at the Etihad Stadium and retained his starting berth for the win over Chelsea, keeping a clean sheet as the struggling Hammers recorded their maiden win under Slaven Bilic's successor.
That demotion, if not reversed, may well come as a devastating blow to the 30-year-old's hopes of featuring for England at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
However, Moyes insists that Three Lions selection is not his concern and that the player will be given plenty more first-team chances between now and the end of the campaign.
"Joe, for all his career has been number one wherever he has been and there is someone else who has worked alongside him," Moyes told reporters in a press conference held before Arsenal's visit to London Stadium.
"At this moment in time, Adrian is in goal, he played well at Man City and he did so again on Saturday against Chelsea.
"I am sure Joe will give Adrian all the respect. He is a really good guy Joe, good in the dressing room and he is good with his level of experience - the games and competitions he has played in and he will play a lot of games for West Ham between now and the end of the season."
Quizzed if there was any scenario that could lead to Hart leaving in January, the manager added: "I just said that he would play a lot of games in January for West Ham so I answered that. I will say no, he is here, if I am correct I am sure I don't think his contract allows him to go back."
West Ham will be without long-term absentees Jose Fonte and Sam Byram against Arsenal, while the match also comes too soon for James Collins. Edimilson Fernandes is doubtful with an ankle knock sustained in training this week, although Michail Antonio is fit after being substituted against Chelsea through exhaustion. Cheikhou Kouyate is now back in full training after recovering from a hamstring issue picked up at City.
Captain Mark Noble and centre-back Winston Reid returned to the starting XI at the weekend, while strikers Javier Hernandez and Andy Carroll were both unused substitutes for a morale-boosting win over the defending champions sealed thanks to record signing Marko Arnautovic's first goal in claret and blue. Andre Ayew and Diafra Sakho were preferred as attacking options off the bench in the second half.
"Cheikhou has returned a little bit to training, so we're hoping we can get him back quite quickly," Moyes said. "Obviously Chicharito and Andy Carroll were back on the bench at the weekend.
"James Collins is coming on a little bit as well, but he won't be ready for the game. We've got a couple of long-termers [in Byram and Fonte], so we're pretty much as we were, really. The only one who is a little doubt is Edi Fernandes, who hurt his ankle in training. That's it."