Slaven Bilic says he expects striker Chicharito to be in his matchday squad on Saturday when West Ham United return to Premier League action against Burnley.
The Hammers travel to Turf Moor to take on the Clarets in their first clash since the international break.
Mexican forward Chicharito, who played and scored for his country on Saturday morning against Trinidad and Tobago in a FIFA World Cup qualifier, has not yet returned to east London but is still likely to travel north with the rest of Bilic’s team.
The striker was given dispensation to leave the national squad before their second fixture due to a personal reason, but manager Bilic revealed he could take part in Lancashire on Saturday.
The boss said: “We are still waiting for Chicharito who is going to come back [to England] today. He wasn’t with us for a couple of weeks because of the Mexico games and all that so he will be back in training tomorrow.
“We have to bear in mind that Chicharito didn’t train with us and today is Thursday and we play an away game on Saturday and tomorrow we’ll be travelling he’ll only be in training on Friday, so we’re going to see.
“The good thing is he played the first game and scored for Mexico, which is always important for the strikers, and he’s going to train with us tomorrow. Then we’re going to decide what we’re going to do on Saturday, but I’m expecting him to be in the squad.”
The Hammers have almost a fully fit squad, with only centre-back James Collins still missing with an ankle injury.
Pedro Obiang and Edimilson Fernandes have returned to training and could feature on Saturday, and Bilic is positive about his squad ahead of the clash with Sean Dyche’s side.
I’m expecting Chicharito to be in the squad. The good thing is he played and scored for Mexico, which is always important for strikers, and he’s going to train with us tomorrow
“Since the last game the situation improved a lot,” he continued. “Most of the players are going to be available for the game.
“It is only Ginger Collins who is out still with that ankle he did against West Brom, but it’s only for a matter of days and he should train with us Monday or Tuesday.
“OK, on paper, we will have most of the squad back. Some of them only started training with us on Monday or Tuesday so they are not completely fit, but it’s a good situation if we are talking about injuries as those who came back and played in the last game against Swansea like [Manuel] Lanzini and [Michail] Antonio used the international break to work on their stamina and work on their fitness.
“To be fair, we mixed this break with a combination of days off to rest them and to work on their fitness and it went really good and we trained really good and those couple of things are the reason why I am optimistic for this game.”
With a number of faces now back in the frame for a starting spot, Bilic was asked whether he has a selection headache for Saturday.
“It’s not a headache,” the boss disagreed. “OK, it’s another issue to use them all or to keep them all happy but if you’re talking about in the long term, it’s always an issue.
“But it’s good finally to be in the position where we have, in those attacking and offensive midfield positions, your whole team.
“I said to my staff that I’m not saying they’re all going to play, because that’s impossible, but this is the first time that basically we have the possibility to put out the team we were thinking about in the pre-season that is, on paper, our strongest team.
“We’re going to probably be in the situation to have that option.”