Hammers handed Reid boost ahead of U23 run out
Winston Reid will take a significant step forward in his recovery on Friday night when he features for the Under-23 side against Middlesbrough.
The 31-year-old has made slow progress in his recovery from the serious knee injury he suffered against Swansea in March 2018, missing the entirety of last season.
It looked like the New Zealander, now the second-longest serving player at the London Stadium, would be ready to make his return in time for the start of the current campaign having featured in three pre-season friendlies.
But having already suffered one serious setback which forced him to undergo surgery last summer, West Ham’s medical staff have taken a cautious approach to his rehabilitation and his potential return to competitive action.
The defender has recently been working on his own in an effort to build up his fitness and will now put himself to the test in Friday’s Under-23 clash.
Should all go well against Middlesbrough then the Hammers reportedly plan for him to have another run out with the youngsters in the clash with Sunderland on September 29.
Reid may then be given the chance to reintegrate with the rest of the first-team squad, boosting boss Manuel Pellegrini’s defensive options.
Pellegrini has yet to be able to call upon Reid since his appointment last year and he could have his work cut out to reclaim his status as one of West Ham’s first-choice defenders.
Issa Diop and Angelo Ogbonna have operated as the centre-back pairing for Pellegrini for the majority of the season and have helped the side record back-to-back clean sheets against Norwich and Aston Villa in the Premier League.
Fabio Balbuena has covered for the pair from the bench so Reid has some work to do to climb the depth chart.
Reid’s return to action will leave Michail Antonio as the only injury absentee for the Hammers ahead of this Sunday’s clash with Manchester United.
Antonio underwent successful surgery on his hamstring last week but isn’t expected to play again in 2019.
Chris Rivers is an experienced reporter who closely follows both Arsenal and Wales Rugby Union team. As well as in-depth football and rugby knowledge, Chris is an avid American Football, Formula One and boxing fan.