By Will Butcher
Slaven Bilic could be prepared to throw defender Aaron Cresswell in at the deep end as he prepares his West Ham side to face Crystal Palace.
The left-back is yet to feature this season for the Hammers, after being on the receiving end of a robust tackle against German side Karlsruher SC in pre-season.
Cresswell has been recovering from a long-term knee injury but could return against ex-Hammers boss Alan Pardew to solve Bilic’s left-back dilemma.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s Premier League encounter, Bilic was quoted by West Ham’s official Twitter account as saying Cresswell “looks good, sharp and will be in the squad.”
West Ham are currently low on options at left back, after new £6million signing Arthur Masuaku was ruled out with a knee injury for six weeks.
Former Croatia and Besiktas manager Bilic has opted to play veteran Alvaro Arbeloa out of position on the left side of defence, while Sam Byram also continues to remain sidelined after going under the knife.
But the return of Cresswell, who has looked sharp in training, will be a welcome boost to the East London outfit’s under-fire manager.
Bilic will be looking to orchestrate just their second league win of the season at Selhurst Park, with five losses in seven Premier League matches leaving his side in the relegation zone.
In other West Ham team news, this senior trio are set to return on Saturday.