Payet way ahead of schedule, says Bilic

  • by Staff Writer
  • Wednesday, 23rd December 2015

Slaven Bilic has given West Ham United fans an early Christmas present - by confirming that Dimitri Payet is expected to return to the first team a month ahead of schedule.

Payet was sidelined by an horrific challenge from Everton's James McCarthy in the 1-1 draw at the Boleyn Ground at the beginning of October, after which it was revealed that he was expected to be out of action until February next year.

However Bilic revealed during his pre-match press conference this morning that the 28-year-old creative midfielder's rehabilitation was well ahead of schedule.

"It is good news with Dimitri as he is ahead of schedule, so he should train with us after the Villa game or the Southampton game," he said. "He is training with the fitness coaches and he might be involved in the Liverpool game which is a big boost.

"At the beginning we thought he would be back in February but he is way ahead of schedule and it is not that bad. His ankle is very good - it is stable - so it is great news if it goes like this."

There was also good news regarding Manuel Lanzini, who is likely to return against Southampton next week, and Andy Carroll who is considered 50/50 for the Villa trip.

"We have many players out but we are coping well without them," he added. "Now they're starting to come back it's going to be great for us as it'll be like finding new players, like new signings.

"Without them we've showed character, team spirit [and produced] good defensive displays - and with a few coming back, it looks really positive for us."

West Ham face Aston Villa on Boxing Day before completing their Christmas programme with two home games against Southampton and Liverpool.

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