David Moyes will be eager to receive some good news on the fitness of Pablo Fornals after the West Ham midfielder missed Sunday’s defeat to Manchester United through injury.
That’s according to football.london, who note that Fornals was a late withdrawal from the squad at Old Trafford after sustaining a minor knock.
But the Irons are unlikely to be without the Spaniard for long, with it expected that the 25-year-old should make a quick return.
Fornals’ recovery is likely to hand Moyes a triple boost after the upcoming international break, with Angelo Ogbonna and Arthur Masuaku also said to be closing in on a return to first-team action.
Fornals had started West Ham’s past three Premier League fixtures before missing the 1-0 loss to Manchester United, having been given a surprise recall against Tottenham Hotspur last month after playing just six of the previous 270 available minutes of top-flight action.
Ogbonna has been in the treatment room since the FA Cup fifth-round loss at Old Trafford at the start of February when he sustained a high ankle sprain, ruling the 32-year-old out of five league games and counting.
Masuaku, meanwhile, has been sidelined since the Red Devils’ visit to the London Stadium in December, 20 games ago, having undergone career-saving knee surgery following the 3-1 defeat in what was his 11th start in all competitions.
Speaking ahead of the weekend’s action, Moyes had said: “Angelo is doing great. He’s back in the gym regularly. He’s out of his [protective] boot and we’re expecting him to start some running on the AlterG, which is the machine that takes a bit of your bodyweight off.
“He’s coming along and I’m hoping that, maybe by the end of the international break, we might have him back on the grass in some capacity. Arthur’s trained two or three days this week with the U23s and trained with me for a couple of days now, so Arthur’s getting much closer to match fitness and all-round fitness generally.”
Moyes will be eager for good news on the potentially swift return of Fornals to action, having missed the Spaniard’s energy during Sunday’s 1-0 loss at Old Trafford.
Fornals had proven a vastly important cog in the West Ham attacking midfield line with his performances against Tottenham, Manchester City and Leeds United, while assisting Jesse Lingard’s winning goal in the London derby with Spurs.
Beyond penning his first assist in 17 Premier League games, Fornals justified his appearance against Jose Mourinho’s north Londoners as he was lively throughout the tie with a tireless persistence to his efforts, which returned more tackles (4) than his per-game average (1.2), per SofaScore.
He was the energetic star once again at Manchester City the following week, constantly driving the Hammers up the pitch and proving a handful for the runaway league leaders.
West Ham were without that presence at Manchester United on Sunday, where Moyes felt his side’s offensive moves were often “really poor” and sloppy, leading to a lack of sustained efforts to hit the Red Devils on the break.