West Ham United defender Winston Reid has been scheduled to return for the under-23s against Cheltenham, according to Claret and Hugh.
The club source claimed on their website that the New Zealand international will make his first appearance since being ruled out with a knee injury at the beginning of 2018.
Claret and Hugh report that the Hammers’ staff are being ultra-cautious with the 31-year-old, who will return in the EFL Trophy should no fresh problems arise.
Reid is now considered ready to start against the League Two side, and could even partner with the 15-year-old starlet Jamal Baptiste in the game at Whaddon Road.
There is no surprise that the Hammers’ medical team are approaching Reid’s return with caution given the severity of the problem. The 31-year-old was absent for 484 days for Manuel Pellegrini’s side and has missed 53 games in the process according to Transfermarkt. Many things have changed since the last time the Kiwi played a competitive game for West Ham, including the arrivals of Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena. Given the success of Angelo Ogbonna in the heart of the defence this season, Reid will return as the fourth choice central defender at the London Stadium, and his chances of making much impact in the Premier League are very limited. The 31-year-old will know that his opportunities will be slim under Pellegrini in the future and that he will need to make a big impact in training and with the under-23s to stand any chance of playing for the first-team once again, and even then that appears highly unlikely.