Belfast Telegraph

Sakho set for Hammers return

West Ham striker Diafra Sakho has recovered from a shoulder injury and is in line to make a welcome return to the squad for Saturday's Barclays Premier League match against Aston Villa.

The summer arrival from Metz was forced to sit out the 2-2 draw at Stoke over the weekend after suffering the knock in the recent victory over reigning champions Manchester City.

Sakho scored the crucial second goal as the Irons won 2-1 at home to City on October 25 as the 24-year-old made it six goals in his first six Premier League starts - and seven in seven in all competitions.

A collision with City goalkeeper Joe Hart led to Sakho being substituted and he was not risked at the Britannia Stadium as Sam Allardyce's side came from two goals down to take a point.

But Stijn Vandenbroucke, West Ham's head of medical and sports science, has revealed Sakho will be back at Upton Park on Saturday - and also confirmed club-record signing Andy Carroll is closing in on a first-team return having been ruled out since a pre-season ankle operation.

"Diafra ran individually on Monday at Chadwell Heath and will be available for the game," Vandenbroucke told the club's official website.

"Andy Carroll trained and played in a behind-closed-doors match last week, which he came though, and will continue to train this week."

Allardyce will be further boosted by the news Winston Reid will also be available to take on out-of-form Villa after the New Zealand international suffered a dead leg at Stoke.

The point against Mark Hughes' side leaves West Ham fifth in the table, level with Arsenal having won half of their opening 10 fixtures.

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