Team news: Antonio back in training ahead of Crystal Palace clash

Michail Antonio

Slaven Bilic has confirmed that Michail Antonio has returned to first team training and could be involved in West Ham United’s Premier League fixture with Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Antonio sustained a bruised rib in last Friday’s defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion, a knock which forced the 27-year-old to sit out the comeback victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Wednesday.

The winger however retuned to training on Thursday, according to Bilic, and will be involved in the session on Friday afternoon.

A decision will be made on Antonio’s availability for Saturday’s game based on how he comes through training.

The manager also confirmed that the Iron’s only other absence due to injury will be James Collins, who is still out after a knock against West Brom last month.

Antonio will train today and based on that training we will see what shape he is in for tomorrow’s game

Slaven Bilic

“It’s good,” Bilic told his press conference when asked about injuries: “It’s only Collins [who will miss out]. Michail Antonio had that bruise on his rib and he only trained yesterday since the Brighton game, and even yesterday was without contact.

“Antonio will train today and based on that training we will see what shape he is in for tomorrow’s game.

“We are going to see today. As you know we played a couple of days ago and the players who played had regeneration. We are going to see today with training this afternoon, but nobody said yesterday that they felt this or that or were tired.

“The situation is that most of the squad is fit and we have to consider a few things before we decide who will start tomorrow.”

Bilic made nine changes to his starting XI for the match with Tottenham on Wednesday, and that victory has prompted curiosity about West Ham’s team for this weekend’s game.

Slaven Bilic

The manager admitted those players who performed so well in the midweek game had given him a pleasant selection headache.

Bilic added: “We wanted to put a strong team out against Spurs. Okay we wanted to rest some players but the players who played, deserved their chance. They had already played and had minutes in the Premier League on the Cup in previous rounds.

“On one hand, you have the team that won the game in Spurs away, and on the other hand you had the guys who played good, not in the Brighton game, but in the games before that. We also have to bear in mind that this game is less than 72 hours after the game against Spurs. Sometimes the energy level, you can’t expect the guys to repeat them in that short period of time.

“We will put all that into consideration when we decide who starts tomorrow. When we decide, and I’ve said this publicly and to the guys, the team is above every individual. There’s no time or space for long faces.”