West Ham United winger Michail Antonio’s much-anticipated return to first team football against Tottenham Hotspur is in doubt, according to Claret & Hugh.
The reliable Hammers news source claims that the 29-year-old was expected to make his comeback in the big London derby, but that a decision on his availability will be made towards the end of the week.
The former Nottingham Forest man, a veteran of 132 Irons appearances [Source: Transfermarkt], has been out since suffering a serious injury against Newport County at the end of September.
The West Ham medics are understandably keen to take things slowly with Antonio’s return, even though he has been in training this week.
This is entirely sensible from the West Ham medical staff. Antonio has been out for two months now and so you don’t want to simply throw him back in at a whim, particularly with the game being a heated London derby between two teams desperate for a win. It’s sure to be a frantic and frenetic game at the London Stadium, and it might be too much to chuck Antonio into. Having said that, he is someone the Hammers have missed desperately. The Irons have had myriad issues so far this season, but one of the main ones has been the team’s failure to get enough support to lone frontman Sebastien Haller. Antonio is a player who can do that, with the versatile winger having played up front plenty of times. He could easily play just off the Frenchman, which would hopefully reduce his isolation up top. It’s unlikely Manuel Pellegrini will do that from the start on Saturday, but hopefully Antonio will be fit enough to make a cameo appearance off the bench, at least.