Alan Curbishley has updated on the progress of Craig Bellamy and Bobby Zamora as the injury situation begins to clear at the Boleyn Ground.
With the likes of James Collins, Lee Bowyer, Luis Boa Morte and Julien Faubert all hopeful of featuring for the reserves away to Aston Villa on Monday evening, the manager revealed the two forwards who started the season at the head of the West Ham United attack were getting closer. "Slowly they are coming back which is great for us but we need everyone back now," he said.
"Bellamy is running," Curbishley added, when asked about his 28-year-old summer signing, who scored four goals in eight games before being sidelined at the end of October with an abdominal injury. "We are hopeful he is going to be not too long. The first game of the season against Manchester City, Bellamy and Zamora started up front. They both look as if they are going to start full training together."
In an exclusive interview with the matchday programme on Saturday, Zamora revealed his desire to return from his knee injury as soon as possible - having been out since 28 August. "I thought I would be back playing by now and I have already missed half a season so I am just desperate to get back. If getting in early and doing a bit extra means that, then I am happy to do it.
The 26-year-old, who reiterated his commitment to his boyhood club, added: "It is has been very frustrating but it is part and parcel of football so you take it on the chin, work and hard and get back as soon as you can. That's what I am working on and will hopefully be back playing soon. I am jogging and strengthening at the moment so hopefully I am not too far off joining in full training."
While a number are on their way back, right-back John Pantsil and forward Henri Camara have gone off to represent Ghana and Senegal respectively at the African Cup of Nations. Both players will hope to be away until the middle of next month - with the final of the continental championship due to be played on 10 February.