Trio in frame for Derby

West Ham United are expecting to have Lucas Neill, Mark Noble and Freddie Ljungberg back for Saturday's home game with Derby County at the Boleyn Ground.

All three missed out on the trip to Bolton Wanderers but have returned to training this week. Neill suffered a twisted ankle a week ago in the latter stages against Portsmouth while Ljungberg and Noble have both made good progress from hamstring injuries that have kept both out of the last two fixtures. The club's medical staff have reported the two midfielders are looking sharp and in contention for selection.

There is also good news on Anton Ferdinand, who is being earmarked for a possible return against Newcastle United on Saturday week. The defender has had treatment on a nerve in his back which directly affects the hamstring, and it was as a result of this that he felt it tighten during the early stages of the Bolton game. Matthew Upson, back after a month out with a calf problem, came through that contest with no problems and is training fully.

Wingers Julien Faubert and Matthew Etherington are also said to be making excellent progress. Faubert got 45 minutes in a reserve-team run-out last week, is back in training and may yet come into the manager's thinking before the end of the campaign as he is no longer feeling his calf stiffening. Etherington may return to full training soon after his abdominal injury and, if all goes to plan, could also feature before the end of the season.

With regard to long-termers James Collins (knee), Danny Gabbidon (abdominal), Calum Davenport (neck), Nigel Quashie (foot), Lee Bowyer (groin), Kieron Dyer (double broken leg) and Craig Bellamy (abdominal), all are said to be coming along nicely. Bellamy, like the other six, is not likely to return this campaign as he looks to pre-season while Welsh international team-mate Collins is back at the training ground and stepping up his rehabilitation from his cruciate ligament injury after a positive surgeon's report.