Behrami working hard

Valon Behrami arrived back in Switzerland this week from holiday but is continuing to work hard on his recovery from a cruciate knee ligament injury.

The hugely popular midfielder has identified mid-August for a potential return, having been hurt back on 1 March during the 1-0 home win against Manchester City. Behrami is almost certain to miss the big Barclays Premier League kick-off on 15 August but will hope to be in advanced training by that point.

To date, he has been working hard in the swimming pool and pushing himself as much as possible on rehabilitation machines and exercise bikes. As was the case with Terry Dixon and Scott Parker, the club's two other sidelined first-teamers who are building up their fitness after respective knee and groin injuries, the club has made sure Behrami has close personal attention from a member of the medical staff while away from Chadwell Heath.

He said: "My work is going very well and if I continue like this on 10 August I will start back with the team, try to kick the ball and join in with my team-mates. After two or three weeks working at a high intensity, in the last week of August I hope to be back in the team for a game."

Behrami also has an eye on being back for his country's meeting with Greece in FIFA World Cup qualifying on 5 September. The Basel contest sees the top two teams in Group 2 - level on 13 points - go head to head but all that concerns him is pulling on the claret and blue shirt again.

"The first thing is to make a proper return with West Ham and only then can I think about the national team," added the 24-year-old.

"I have to thank West Ham because they said I can go home and someone will come to work with me. They are a good club and this shows that."