West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has revealed Michail Antonio is nearing a first team return after getting an hour for the club's U23s against Everton.
The Englishman has been sidelined with a hamstring injury since April after limping out against Swansea, and his return will make for welcome news for Irons fans.
Antonio has been hugely effective for the Hammers since his arrival from Nottingham Forest in 2015 given his ability to play a number of different positions.
He has emerged as one of their best players over the past couple of seasons and his nearing return is sure to give the team a boost going into the new season.
Bilic said, as quoted by the Mail: "Michail was injured against Swansea in April and the plan was for him to miss a couple of games because he had an operation, it was not just an injury but a big one.
"He was prepared to miss a couple of games and was ahead of schedule. He’s a good healer, strong, mentally strong, a hard worker and a bit of a monster also, physically!
"So, the fact is he is ahead so he's playing on Friday night for the U23s and then he will miss the opening game of the season against Man United away, but he has been in training with us since Monday, he is playing tonight and he should be in the squad, at least, for the game against Southampton. That was planned."
Antonio will not travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the club's first Premier League game of the season on Sunday, but could be in contention to face Southampton in a week's time.