Team news: Noble training, Diop and Cullen isolating, Yarmolenko pushing
Mark Noble is back in full training and is set to return to the West Ham United squad for Sunday's Premier League fixture with Wolverhampton Wanderers at London Stadium.
The captain has received treatment for a toe injury and is now pain-free and looking forward to making his comeback after missing the last three matches in all competitions - Carabao Cup wins over Charlton Athletic and Hull City and the narrow Premier League defeat at Arsenal.
Assistant manager Alan Irvine, who hosted Friday's pre-match press conference with manager David Moyes self-isolating at home following his positive test for COVID-19 on Tuesday, said Noble's leadership and experience would be welcome in the dressing room and on the training pitch.
"It’s always great to have him back,” said the Scot. “He’s fantastic around the place and really important in the dressing room at the training ground and really important in the dressing room at the matches as matches, so it’s great to have him back in full training.
“His toe, which has been giving him a lot of pain for a while, isn’t giving him any pain so he’s got a smile on his face at the moment.”
While Noble joins an otherwise fully-fit squad, Issa Diop and Josh Cullen are unavailable for selection as both continue to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID-19 ahead of Tuesday's Carabao Cup victory over Hull.
“I’ve spoken to both of them and they’re fine," Irvine confirmed. "They're frustrated because they’re not able to come in but that’s the situation and we all understand that. But none of them are feeling unwell, which probably makes it even more frustrating.
“Everyone else is training, which is great because obviously we’ve lost a couple of players with the coronavirus situation and we wouldn’t have wanted to lose any more at this stage, so we’re delighted that everybody else is available.”
One player who is fit, available and seemingly in good form is Ukraine forward Andriy Yarmolenko, who scored two goals and assisted two more in Tuesday's Carabao Cup win.
Irvine was asked if the No7 was pushing for a Premier League start against Wolves.
"Of course," the assistant manager responded. "Andriy is a really talented player and one of the most talented players that I’ve worked with and I enjoy working with Andriy.
“But clearly he has competition in that position. Jarrod Bowen has done extremely well since he came in, so it’s a case of Andriy grabbing any chances that he gets and he has certainly performed well in a couple of Carabao Cup games.”