West Ham's Jack Wilshere could be set to make a return to action sooner than expected after recent reports claimed he could remain sidelined for the entire campaign.
A persistent ankle problem has limited the 27-year-old's game time this term, having made just five appearances in the Premier League for the Hammers thus far.
However, according to the Times, West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini is now hopeful that the Englishman could return to training within a few weeks after initially expecting his new signing to miss at least two more months of action.
The former Arsenal midfielder joined the Hammers last summer on a free transfer but is yet to make his presence felt at the London Stadium, having played just five minutes of Premier League football since Christmas.
Wilshere would have been hoping the cross-city switch would lead to a change in fortunes, but this season has been all too familiar for the 27-year-old, who has failed to win on any of his four starts in West Ham colours.
After an inconsistent start to the season, the Hammers find themselves in 12th place, 16 points off Arsenal who sit sixth,.
Though their Premier League status is all but confirmed for another year, Pellegrini will be disappointed his side haven't managed to push on from last year, when a meagre end to the season saw them finish 13th.
Wilshere is not the only player who remains absent though, with Samir Nasri also sidelined after missing out on their trip to Molineux last week.
Pellegrini's men face what would be a tricky test with or without Wilshere on Monday night against league leaders Liverpool with West Ham hoping for yet another big scalp at the London Stadium this year.