West Ham United look set to receive a sizable boost ahead of the Premier League London derby against Chelsea this weekend with influential striker Javier Hernandez having now returned to first-team training after injury.
'Chicharito' scored four goals in his first 13 appearances for the struggling Hammers after returning to English football from Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen in a £16m ($21.4m) deal in July, although he has yet to feature under new manager David Moyes after limping out of Mexico's 3-3 friendly draw against Belgium on 10 November with a hamstring problem.
West Ham, currently 19th and three points adrift of safety, have failed to win any of their subsequent four top-flight matches without their second top scorer, losing to Watford and Everton while claiming a point against Leicester City.
They defended far more stubbornly against Manchester City on Sunday (3 December), although could not prevent the free-scoring leaders from coming from behind to win 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium courtesy of goals from Nicolas Otamendi and David Silva that cancelled out Angelo Ogbonna's first-half header.
A more resilient display should have provided something of a confidence injection ahead of further tough back-to-back fixtures against Chelsea and Arsenal, while their slim chances of prospering in those home derbies will surely increase if Hernandez if declared fit to feature.
According to football.london, the 29-year-old, shown being put through his paces at Rush Green in a video released by West Ham, is on track to start against the defending champions providing he suffers no setbacks. He will now hope to feature far more frequently under Moyes than he did during the Scot's torrid 10-month spell in charge at Manchester United in 2013-14.
West Ham's fortunes at present are not being helped by several other fitness concerns, with midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate substituted shortly before the interval at City after appearing to suffer his own hamstring problem. Last week, Winston Reid and Andy Carroll also joined an injury list that already included defenders Jose Fonte, James Collins and Sam Byram.
Goalkeeper Joe Hart was ineligible to face his parent club as per the terms of his season-long loan deal, allowing deputy Adrian the chance to make his first league appearance of the campaign. The Spaniard impressed with a number of saves - particularly in the second half - and The Times are among the publications to report that Moyes is considering starting him against Chelsea, despite Hart being available for selection once more.
"If you get the jersey you hope you can retain it," Moyes said of his goalkeeping conundrum after the defeat at City. "You hope that if you play well you might get another chance. That's football and I don't think that's changed."
Adrian has still yet to commit to a new contract at West Ham after the club took up their option for a two-year extension in May and previously suggested that he was open to leaving in January in order to improve his chances of selection for the 2018 World Cup. However, he is now hopeful of earning a more regular role.
"This is my fifth season at West Ham," he said. "I do my best every time I play. I hope I have more chances to play from now but the competition is great."