Ferdinand boost for Hammers

Defender to play in practice match

Ferdinand: Back for Hammers

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Anton Ferdinand is back in training with West Ham United after almost two months out with a hamstring injury.

The centre-half has not played since the end of October, but was scheduled to feature in a practice game on Thursday.

Saturday's Premier League fixture against Middlesbrough could come too soon for Ferdinand's first-team comeback, but his return to fitness has lifted Alan Curbishley.

The Hammers boss is also hoping to have Julien Faubert and Kieron Dyer back soon after bemoaning the short-term injuries which have hit his squad.

Very difficult

"Anton's back, he's playing in an arranged game today to try and get some match fitness," Curbishley told Sky Sports News.

"Julien Faubert has been given the all clear to start training. Kieron Dyer has been given the all clear to start jogging, which is good news.

"The long term ones you know about, it's the ones that keep coming in and out.

"I think four weeks ago we played up at Derby and Lee Bowyer scored a couple of goals - we haven't seen him since. We played up at Blackburn, and the team that won 1-0 away, there was three or four changes for the team in the next game against Everton.

"It's very difficult for that to keep happening and to have that consistency of team selection, but we have got to get on with it."

Curbishley also acknowledged that it is 'difficult' trying to get the likes of Freddie Ljungberg, Scott Parker and Dean Ashton fit purley through first-team football.

He added: "I think that is another problem, when you are getting players fit in the first team. Players who have been out are having to be pushed straight back in.

"It is difficult, especially when you have got two or three of them at the same time, and that's the situation we've been in - Freddie's been one of them, Scott Parker's been another and Dean Ashton's been another, but we've just got to get on with it."