West Ham have been handed a timely boost by Jack Collison's return to training following a knee injury.
The Wales midfielder, 24, has not played for the Hammers this season after undergoing surgery in the summer but he is edging closer to a first-team comeback.
Boss Sam Allardyce has recently lost midfielder Mohamed Diame because of a hamstring injury, while striker Andy Carroll is also sidelined with a knee problem.
"It's been frustrating," said Collison. "Just because it has been my knee injured, everyone has jumped to the conclusion that I'm walking wounded and will never be the same again.
"That's not true. I've had surgery but I'll be back as strong as ever and I'm desperate to play in the Prem again. It's been a nightmare not being able to help the lads."
Collison missed almost a year after injuring his knee in 2010 and Allardyce compared his situation to Tottenham defender Ledley King, who battled a similar complaint for years before retiring.
"My knee will have to be managed to some extent but it won't make me any less of a player," said Collison.
"I want to play on for as long as I can. I met Ray Wilkins recently and he played into his 40s. He was such an inspiration."
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