West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini says Marko Arnautovic is 'ready to return' to the starting line-up for the first time in almost two months ahead of this afternoon's clash with Huddersfield Town at London Stadium.
The Austrian international has not started a game for the Hammers since the 3-0 defeat at Wolves in January, after trying to force through a big-money move to China.
But in his pre-match press conference Pellegrini hinted Arnautovic, who was a half-time substitute in last week’s 2-0 defeat at Cardiff City, could start against the Premier League’s basement club today, saying both his head and body was now in the right place.
Arnautovic was set to start against Manchester City, but missed the 1-0 defeat due to illness.
Pellegrini said: “Marko was out of the team for several reasons. First, because his mind was out when he had the option to go to China. Then he returned and didn’t work for about a week, so he needed time to recover his performance.
“After that, he was sick. He was going to start against Manchester City but he felt bad that day. There’s a lot of reasons why he was starting on the bench, but I think he is ready to return in his position.”
One player West Ham will be missing, however, is striker Andy Carroll, due to an ankle injury.
Carroll missed out in Wales last week and is the only unexpected absentee for the visit of Huddersfield. Carlos Sanchez, Winston Reid, Andriy Yarmolenko and Jack Wilshere are all still out with longer-term injuries.
“We continue without the players with long injuries,” Pellegrini said. “They continue to recover.
“We have also Andy Carroll, who has a problem with his ankle. We need to wait for some medical examination, and then after that we will know. The rest of the squad is okay.”