West Ham's George McCartney closing in on return from knee injury
West Ham full-back George McCartney is hoping to return to the first team when West Brom visit Upton Park on 30 March.
Last Updated: 21/03/13 2:11pm
The Northern Ireland international has been absent since 9 December, having picked up a knee ligament injury in training.
However, he played a half for the development squad last week, was an unused substitute for Sunday's 2-0 Premier League loss at Chelsea, and then played the whole match on Tuesday as a West Ham XI beat a QPR XI 3-1 in a friendly.
The 31-year-old told the West Ham website: "It has been a long time out and the last time I played 90 minutes was December.
"I had a run-out on Friday night and it was good to play the whole game on Tuesday and get a positive result.
"The knee's feeling good. I think I probably need a bit more fitness and a bit more sharpness but that will come with the next few days' training and, hopefully, some more game time.
Raring to go
"I've only been back training for about 10 days to two weeks. The next game's not until the end of March, so that gives me a bit of time to do some more training and fitness work, and I'll be raring to go come the West Brom game.
"To be honest, I was a bit surprised to be on the bench against Chelsea on Sunday. It was nice to get away with the squad again and, hopefully, come the West Brom game, I can be pushing to get back in the team or, if not, try to play some minutes as a substitute.
"But it's nice to be part of the team again and over the injury I had."