Neil McDonald has welcomed the possibility of npower Championship Play-Off semi-final hero Jack Collison returning to the squad for Saturday's visit of Everton.

Collison has not featured in the Barclays Premier League so far this season due to a long-standing knee problem, but the assistant manager revealed that he could be involved against the Toffees.

McDonald said the No10, who returned in Monday's Development Squad fixture at Norwich City, would add much-needed experience and ability to a Hammers squad short on numbers due to injuries to a number of first-team players.

"Luckily he got through the 45 minutes with Norwich," confirmed McDonald. "He needs more game time and more time on the training pitch but no doubt he will come into the squad because with the injuries we need him.

"He is important to us because he's a good player. He contributed to getting us promoted last year. He scores goals as well as creating them and that's what we need, especially in this league. When you have a long-term injury you spend a lot of time in the gym and with the physio and it's given the rest of the squad a boost to have him back. The lads have been ribbing him, saying 'this is a new player, nice to meet you'."

McDonald spoke of how Collison himself has been jubilant since his return to action.

"His mood is a lot better since playing the 45 minutes. He's in a good place himself, he's full of confidence with his knee. Training filled him with confidence leading up to the Norwich match and hopefully his confidence is even better after the game. We look forward to having him back in to the fold, even if he isn't match fit."

West Ham have picked up some important points lately and put in some very good performances against some of the Barclays Premier League's top sides.

However, injuries to Mohamed Diame, Yossi Benayoun, Ricardo Vaz Te, Andy Carroll and George McCartney mean the squad have been boosted by Collison's return this weekend. However any involvement from the Wales international will come from off the bench.

"He certainly won't start unless we have another four or five injuries. For someone of his experience, even though he's a young lad, with all the games he's played at every level, international level as well it's good to have him back. Even if he's not 100 per cent match fit he'll put pressure on everyone else. If we do need him for a short space of time he'll be able to come on no problem."

McDonald also had positive news about striker Andy Carroll, who has been sidelined with a knee injury suffered at Manchester United in late November.

"The physio department are working hard to try and get him back that's for sure. We have to make sure we try and get him fit as quick as we possibly can. He has had a bad injury and we want him back in the team because when he was in the team he was contributing so much and we were happy with his performance."