By Will Butcher
Angelo Ogbonna has revealed that he could make a West Ham return before the end of the season after a successful operation on his knee.
Ogbonna, 28, was expected to miss the rest of the season after picking up the long-term knee problem, last featuring against Premier League strugglers Middlesbrough back in January.
However, Ogbonna has told West Ham’s official website that he could make a return to first-team football before the end of the season, after his operation went well.
“The recovery will be a lot quicker than I first expected as the surgery was a big success,” Ogbonna said. “I just want to get back playing and to help our team.
“I wish that I will play again this season and will get back as soon as possible. The time I spend with my team makes me so happy and I can feel their support.”
Manager Slaven Bilic revealed in the immediate aftermath of the injury that Ogbonna would miss the rest of the 2016-17 campaign, on West Ham’s official Twitter account.
“Ogbonna will now have surgery after today’s game which will rule him out until the end of the season,” Bilic said.
BILIC: "@OgbonnaOfficial will now have surgery after today’s game which will rule him out until the end of the season."
— West Ham United (@WestHam) January 21, 2017
However, the Italy international could now return to Bilic’s side with 10 Premier League encounters still to be played before the season finishes on May 21.
The Hammers have difficult games against the likes of Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool in that period and will be desperate to have former Juventus defender Ogbonna available.
This season, Ogbonna has made 25 appearances in all competitions for the east London outfit, keeping seven clean sheets and picking up nine wins along the way.
In other West Ham news, Bilic is eyeing a swoop for this prolific striker who has a £24million release clause.