West Ham United are hoping to have both James Collins and Diafra Sakho available for their post-international break London derby clash against Tottenham Hotspur, according to the club's head of medical and sports science Stijn Vandenbroucke.
Concerns over Collins' fitness grew yesterday (8 November), when the experienced defender was forced to pull out of the Welsh squad for a Group D 2018 World Cup qualifier against Serbia in Cardiff due to a suspected calf problem. Striker Sakho has yet to make a single senior appearance in 2016/17 due to a recurring back injury, although both could play some part for Slaven Bilic's side at White Hart Lane.
"Ginge [Collins] suffered a calf injury in the Stoke game and had to withdraw from the Wales squad," Vandenbroucke said in his weekly treatment room update posted on the Hammers' official website. "He will rehab with us this week and we hope he will be available for the trip to Tottenham Hotspur on 19 November."
Regarding Sakho, he added: "On a more positive note, Diafra Sakho has been training with the first-team squad for the past two weeks and we hope he will be available for selection against Tottenham or the week after."
Collins' swift recovery could prove particularly important, with fellow centre-back Winston Reid also having to withdraw from international duty ahead of New Zealand's double-header against New Caledonia after suffering a grade one hamstring strain during the 2-0 Premier League defeat at Everton. Vandenbroucke confirmed that the All Whites skipper is currently working through his rehabilitation at West Ham's Rush Green training ground, although did not speculate on his potential availability for that eagerly-anticipated meeting with Mauricio Pochettino's unbeaten Tottenham.
Highly-rated academy graduate Reece Oxford would not be able to deputise for Collins and Reid. Reports earlier this week claimed that the 17-year-old was expected to be sidelined for four weeks after damaging his ankle ligaments in training and Vandenbroucke has now confirmed a high ankle sprain that has left the youngster temporarily needing to use crutches.
None of West Ham's other casualties are expected to return in time to face Spurs, although Gokhan Tore is said to be "closer to returning to train with the squad". Striker Andy Carroll, who was reportedly held up at gunpoint on his way home from training last week after being confronted by armed motorcyclists, continues to recover from a knee issue and Sam Byram is now running again following a significant hamstring injury sustained against Middlesbrough in early October. There was no mention of left-back Arthur Masuaku, who has not played since hurting his knee in a last-gasp EFL Cup third-round victory over Accrington Stanley seven weeks ago.