Dyer closing on a start

Kieron Dyer is closing on a full 90 minutes for West Ham United, according to Gianfranco Zola.

The manager has been greatly impressed by the England attacker's return to fitness and form and is looking forward to realising the best from his No7. Dyer's cameos against Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland have particularly whetted the appetite before the short trip to face Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. On his last appearance at White Hart Lane in January 2007, Dyer played the full 90 minutes in a thrilling 3-2 win for Newcastle United.

"Kieron has had a game last week and the week before," Zola said. "We are trying to make it as easy as possible for Kieron. I don't think it would be good for him if he played more than he's playing right now. Every game we are trying to give him more time because we have faith in him.

"We know that he's OK but we also know that he hasn't played for a long time and cannot play for 90 minutes. We are increasing the time and also working hard in training and looking forward to having the possibility of playing him a little bit longer. I want to see him on the pitch for a long time."

The manager is mindful that Dyer has not started a game since August 2007 because of his double leg break and related minor setbacks that frustrated his recovery. "He was out for a year and then he was coming back and he got injured. Then he came back again and he got injured again. When the muscles stay for so long without being used properly you come back and pick up small injuries and every time you have to work at below 100 per cent.

"As soon as you come back you can't be at your best. If he gave 100 per cent straight away he would get injured. That's what happened. Now, fortunately, he has been progressing very well and I'm looking forward to playing him for a full 90 minutes before the end of the season."