Paolo Progressing

Paolo Di Canio says he is doing all he can to speed up his recovery time in order to get back for the dogfight that lies ahead.

"I am feeling very good at the moment and it is important that I get fit and back to help the team," says Paolo, still in Bologna where he is undergoing intensive treatment.

"I am now training in the swimming pool and I want to get back into the team as quickly as possible.

"At the moment it is the end of February but I want to bring that forward by as many days as possible - for the team and the supporters.

"My knee is good, coming along well, and there is no swelling.

"Now I feel I am beginning to go through the next stage of my rehabilitation and I want to return strong.

"I was training on Christmas Day and only had Boxing Day off - I am working hard.

"I am disappointed the results haven't gone our way but I want to be back for the fight.

"In the meantime I would wish all of our loyal supporters a happy New Year, with the promise that we will be doing everything to get West Ham up the table."

Club doctor Ges Steinbergs says that an quicker than expected return could be on the cards and confirms:

"Early February is on the cards - depending on how the next few weeks go, and how quickly he can get on the field.

"As he is swimming now, that can't be too far away, and once he is on the pitch again it will just take a few weeks to test the knee, get it strong, and get back.

"Paolo always keeps himself in good condition and the rest of his body fit when he is carrying an injury."

Meanwhile, hopes are high that Fredi Kanoute should return to action after missing the Blackburn game. Fredi played against Fulham - his first action for 13 weeks - but missed out at Ewood Park.

"Fredi came through the Fulham game okay, but unfortunately picked up an infection going into the game so he is on antibiotics," says Ges.

"We are optimistic he should be available for Charlton."

Meanwhile, one media organisation has revived the theory that Gabriel Batistuta will be coming to Upton Park when the transfer window opens this week.

Glenn Roeder has denied the notion several times - no attempt has even been made to acquire his services - but, once more for the record, he says:

"I have said it before and only time will tell but people will see I am telling the truth when he doesn't come to us in January."

Another transfer story has placed Vladimir Labant as being a player West Ham will be looking to move on in January.

Vlad, of course, returned to Sparta Prague - initially on loan but with a view to a permanent transfer - some weeks ago.