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Hammers Injury Update: Andy Carroll, Michail Antonio and Cheikhou Kouyaté are all back in training

But is it too soon for the trio to play?

West Ham United v Swansea City - Premier League Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Andy Carroll, Michail Antonio and Cheikhou Kouyaté didn't play in the opening game of the season due to injuries that need time to recover. Sadly, losing by four goals at Old Trafford didn't do them any favours.

The defeat last Sunday to Manchester United just highlights how much their presence is missed on the field; and even at this early stage in the season, the need for their return is obvious.

Its always the same when key players are out for any length of time.

After a defeat the first thing the medical people are asked is how far away the injured players are from making a return.

There is talk that the trio could even be in contention for the Southampton game this weekend; with Slaven Bilić saying that Michail Antonio in particular is fit and ready to play. Manuel Lanzini of course is still unavailable, having yet to fully recover from his most recent injury.

The problem is that when the injured players return again so much will be expected of them.

The general feeling in the stands is that everything will be alright as soon as these injured guys are back playing.

Slaven himself might not view the situation as being quite as clear-cut as that; but he will be thinking that if he can get at least two of the three back in the side then the potential to start picking up points will be so much greater.

Sunderland v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The more games the team lose, the more patience the management lose in turn. That's when it's tempting for someone who hasn't played for weeks to put his hand up and say he'll be fine for the weekend!

The media get a hold of that information and before you know it the points are in the bag; at least until the game starts anyway and it soon becomes apparent that an obvious deficit exists in either fitness or form.

Once you start to get players coming back into the team before they're ready, more often than not they are only setting themselves up for trouble if it all goes wrong.

Typical scenarios include re-aggravating the injury or picking up something else because they're not really ready in the first place.

With the best will in the world, injured players returning to training in advance of getting back into the team are never going to get the competitive edge needed to assess true form.

On the plus side though, there's never really any physical damage done in these cases. Everyone accepts that more time is needed for returning players to find their previous form and of course this only comes through playing.

Manchester United v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images

The current situation at West Ham reflects the position that Slaven Bilić finds himself in at the moment.

With the injured players being those he particularly wants in the team such as Andy, Michail and Chiekhou, their absence is magnified after defeats like the one at Old Trafford.

When the trio do eventually return to the side, fans' and media expectations often place an unfair burden on them which only adds to the tension of wondering whether the injury will stand up to a heavy challenge or a sharp turn.

In the heat of the moment, there is often no time to consider whether that extra sprint is going to be the one that aggravates the recovering tissues until all the movements required in the game have been tried and tested beforehand.

This is why the need for taking part in competitive reserve games before coming back from injury is so important.

In many ways, players returning from longer-term injury will often bear the brunt of the fans' frustrations if they find themselves on the wrong end of a another defeat.

The issue at West Ham at the moment is over the fact that Slaven has given so much backing to the players currently unavailable through injuries that have taken longer than expected to resolve.

He's shown patience and support to both Andy and Michail in particular. The underlying concern all along is that either one or the other will say ''I'm ready'' long before they are anywhere near.

The last thing anyone needs is to be back to square one.