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West Ham injury update - good news at last for Slaven Bilić

It's tempting to say that it's all starting to come together

Southampton v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Ahead of this Saturday's trip to Newcastle, a look at the injury situation reveals that the squad are in much better shape than they were a month ago.

Things are looking up. With several players reporting for pre-season in July still recovering from operations and injuries sustained last season, you could hardly have blamed Slaven Bilić for thinking "here we go again".

When added to the other injuries picked up as the training got underway, the whole situation looked pretty grim.

At one stage, it was almost as though the close-season had never happened.

Players whom Slaven expected to be fit weren't; and these were quickly joined by others who had pulled out of the sessions with minor to moderate injuries.

As we entered the month of August people were saying that it's just like last year all over again.

Now, with few absences in the squad and some concerns eased over the longer-term injuries, the signs are there that things are improving at last.

West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The Hammers will travel to Newcastle with Winston Reid being the only injury-related absence.

Andy Carroll, Michail Antonio and Cheikhou Kouyaté are all likely to have game-time in the north-east; with the latter having been on the bench at Cheltenham and both Andy and Michail set to return to the squad after being left out of the mid-week cup tie.

Slaven took the decision not to involve either of the two in the Cheltenham game in order to allow them additional recovery time after the tough encounter at Southampton last weekend.

With Newcastle next up for West Ham, this would be the obvious and most sensible thing to do given the high potential for recurrence of their respective injuries.

Manuel Lanzini will also travel to Newcastle after recovering from the knee injury that has kept him out of action for some time.

With regards to Cheikhou Kouyaté, he's now been back in full training for some time. On that note, it's easy to forget that Cheikhou actually returned to the squad in time for the pre-season.

Unfortunately, however, successful wrist surgery during the summer break was then followed by a knee injury in training that forced him to miss the opening games of the new campaign against Manchester United and Southampton.

As the fourth member of West Ham United's group of returning players along with Manuel Lanzini, Andy Carroll and Michail Antonio, Cheikhou's midweek inclusion for the midweek cup game at Cheltenham was a welcome boost for Hammers fans.

West Ham United v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

The return of most of the injured players from last season can be seen as part of a significantly-improving situation that currently leaves only Winston Reid on the injured list from the recognised first team squad.

Winston's injury came in the warm-up last week at Southampton and has been universally reported as a calf muscle strain which isn't thought to be serious at this point.

Injuries sustained in the warm-up aren't that unusual but are still relatively infrequent enough for these to make the headlines when they do occur. It just goes to show that in football you just cannot legislate for the unexpected.

Prevention of injuries is great and I'm all for it but sometimes these things just happen. When they do, although it can be a huge setback, you just have to deal with the situation at the time.

Compared to how things were a month ago, the signs are a lot more positive with regards to the number of injuries being treated by the medical team at West Ham.

Hopefully Slaven Bilić can now see some light at the end of the tunnel.