Players winging their way back

Alan Curbishley has extra competition in wide attacking positions as more players come into contention for first-team selection for the visit of Birmingham City.

After Monday's friendly against Queen's Park Rangers, Julien Faubert and Nolberto Solano are vying for inclusion - although the former may first be given another reserve-team run-out on Tuesday. Following his recovery from hamstring trouble, Solano has already had an extended substitute's appearance in the 1-0 defeat at Wigan Athletic last Saturday while Freddie Ljungberg, Matthew Etherington and Luis Boa Morte are also in the mix.

"[Julien] played the full 90 minutes which he has desperately needed to do. He may need one more game on Tuesday. I want the West Ham fans to see him as opposed to seeing someone who is not 100 per cent. He picked up this calf strain after the Manchester City game. He then got himself right, playing the full 90 minutes, I have just got to have a look at it."

In central midfield, reported that Scott Parker was "about three weeks away". He added: "He is in full running, he is doing as well as we think he should be doing. If we can get one or two of the others back we can have that competition we need. We do need to get them back to give us that freshness and us all a lift."

The manager is mindful that Lucas Neill, George McCartney, Mark Noble and Luis Boa Morte are all one yellow card away from a one-match ban for five cautions this season - with that threat remaining until the final whistle of the Fulham game on 23 February. Regarding Noble, Curbishley was also aware he has played three games in six days - including an impressive stint for England Under-21s on Tuesday night.

Neill, McCartney and Matthew Upson have also been on national-team duty, with the manager stating their fitness will be fully assessed on Thursday and Friday. Further forward, Henri Camara has returned from the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal, where he scored on his only start, while Bobby Zamora (knee) and Craig Bellamy (stomach) are being assessed as part of their rehabilitation. Referring to Bellamy, Curbishley said: "He is a bit sore still. He is not 100 per cent how he wants to be."