David Moyes hopes to have Declan Rice back available soon as West Ham continue their charge towards surprise qualification for the Champions League.
Moyes has confirmed that Rice is making good progress with his recovery from injury. The midfielder has been sidelined with a knee injury that he picked up on international duty with England in March. But individual training has been positive as Moyes looks to recover one of his most important players.
Moyes said: “Declan’s been training really well. It’s all gym based at the moment.
“He’s working really hard in the gym because he wants to get back as quick as he can.
“He’s obviously got other reasons, he knows he’s got the Euros coming up in the summer as well.
“As you can imagine for any club to lose Declan Rice would be a big blow, but at the moment we’ve been able to carry it and I hope we can continue to do so.”
The next challenge for West Ham without Rice will be an away match at Newcastle. Looking to retain their place in the Champions League spots, a win would take them into third.
That would provide major motivation ahead of next week’s home match against Chelsea, who are one of the sides trying to overtake them.
Moyes is just focusing on one match at a time, though.
He said: “We’re just trying to pick up the points and we’ll worry about the Chelsea game when it comes around.
“If we keep that going, who knows? Of course I’d be disappointed (to miss out on the top four) because I want to try and make it.
“But I’m not going to weigh the players down with the expectation that they should be making the Champions League.
“That would be completely unfair on our squad and players that most people would probably have put us just outside the bottom three or four.
“But if I don’t keep pushing those teams hard then I would be disappointed. We’re going to try and pull out results as much as we can.
“I want to take it as long as I can, right to the end and see where we end up.”
Moyes sends Bruce support
West Ham and Newcastle last met on the opening day of the season, when Steve Bruce’s side condemned Moyes’ men to a 2-0 defeat.
Their fortunes have differed since, though. Newcastle are currently hovering above the relegation zone, putting pressure on manager Bruce.
But Moyes believes Bruce will keep Newcastle up and thinks keeping him on Tyneside was the right decision.
Moyes said: “I think Steve’s done a good job, he’s done what he’s been asked.
“He’s had really good support from his owner in difficult times.
“Because of that, I think you’ll see Newcastle staying in the Premier League when many people thought there should probably be changes.
“I know many owners have been criticised quite a lot for their decisions. But maybe the owner there has made the right decision.”