West Ham United manager David Moyes has admitted that important attacking pair Marko Arnautovic and Michail Antonio are closing-in on a return to full fitness and hinted they could feature against Watford on Saturday.
The Hammers host the Hornets at the London Stadium and the Scottish trainer will be hopeful that the home side can record a much-needed three points.
West Ham have suffered a hideous injury list of late, which has left Moyes short of options in the final third.
This has seen Javier Hernandez lead the line for the London club, with January loan signing Joao Mario in close support of the Hammers striker.
Arnautovic was in excellent form before picking up a hamstring injury, while Antonio has been in and out of the West Ham team this season due to debilitating injury concerns.
Moyes has stated that the Hammers pair have been training with the first team and hinted that one or both could feature against Watford.
“We’re getting people back and a bit closer to fitness,” the West Ham official website quotes the manager as saying.
“Michail Antonio has done a bit more training and Marko Arnautovic has done a bit of training this week. Hopefully we’re getting closer to getting those players available.
“Michail and Marko are getting closer…
“Marko has been a miss for us because his form was as good as any. His overall performances for the team as a centre forward were fantastic, so we’ve really missed him, but we’ve also missed Lanzini. They’ve been really important to us.”
Arnautovic had been playing in the unorthodox role as a central striker before his injury and was thoroughly among the goals for West Ham in a purple patch for the Austrian.
Other comments from Moyes suggest that the attacker is ready to feature for the Hammers on Saturday, but that he will be assessed before the clash with Watford.
“We’re not sure if he’s ready yet to play,” Football London quote the West Ham boss as saying.
“It’s an injury we need to be mindful of. But Marko’s Marko. Full of confidence.
“He knows exactly what he wants to do and when he wants to do it. Sometimes that’s really good when he’s got that ability to know he can eliminate anyone at any moment. It makes him that little bit different.”
West Ham are in 12th place ahead of this weekend’s Premier League fixtures and will know that victory against Watford, who are in the position above the Hammers, would mean the club equal the Hornets current total of 30 points.
Arnautovic’s return could well be a real morale-booster for the Irons, with the fans hoping the side will be aggressive from the first whistle on Saturday.