West Ham United received rare great news Thursday in a frustrating season long mired by injuries: the unexpected quick recovery and return of forward Diafra Sakho.
The talented Senegalese striker surprised many who speculated last week that his season was over due to surgery on his agonizing back. But Sakho has displayed a remarkable level of rehabilitation, and is realistically in with a shot to play for the Hammers next Wednesday versus Arsenal, or three days later against Swansea City.
“He has been out for a long time now, as he had a back operation, which is not an easy or small injury,” manager Slaven Bilic said in his Thursday pre-match press conference of Sakho. “It was a major one, so he has been training very good and active, first with the medical staff and fitness coaches on an individual basis, then he did some training with the Under-23s.”
“Thursday is the first day he is going to train with us without any restrictions, so he is back on a list of fit players for training, but then we have to consider the amount of time that he was out. Hopefully he is going to be back for us very soon, if it continues like this, which is great news for us, but the Hull game comes too early.”
Bilic also expressed Sakho’s desire to desperately return to first time play, something the 27-year-old hasn’t done since scoring at Manchester United in November.
“He is very positive and says ‘I want to play, please, please!’ and is pushing in a positive way, which is what we want, but we have to think about his fitness because there is a big difference between training and games, because in training you can control your movement and all that.”
“He’s done a couple of training sessions but they were restricted. He looks good, but now we’re going to see him basically in every training and see him train 100 per cent and with the other players treating him as a fit player. We’re going to see.”