West Ham United midfielder Dimitri Payet could get back to the pitch sooner than expected as he’s ahead of schedule getting back from injury.
Manager Slaven Bilic believes that the Frenchman could be back in training with the team before the start of 2016. Payet’s first game back could be as early as Jan. 2 when the Hammers takes on Liverpool.
“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,” Bilic told the Guardian.
“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.”
West Ham takes on bottom of the table Aston Villa on the road on Boxing Day, and Bilic has scouted the opponents well.
“I saw their last few games and against Newcastle they had a really good game, especially after they equalised,” Bilic said.
“For 20 minutes they were much better and I have seen the energy, seen their quality and they are fighting for their lives. But they have confidence now because they have one point from an away game. They are at home against us and they look forward to that game.
“So, make no mistake I am not expecting anything easier than against Swansea, Stoke or Manchester United. They have some quality players who can harm you.”
West Ham’s last league win came back in late October over Chelsea, but the Hammers are still in the thick of it, sitting in 8th place with 25 points.