FILE PHOTO: West Ham's Marko Arnautovic at Portman Road, Ipswich, Britain - July 28, 2018. Action Images via Reuters/Adam Holt/File Photo
Feb 7 (Reuters) - Marko Arnautovic will return to the West Ham United squad for Saturday's Premier League trip to Crystal Palace, while Manuel Lanzini is closing in on a long-awaited comeback from injury, manager Manuel Pellegrini said on Thursday.
Austrian forward Arnautovic, who signed a contract extension last month after interest from Chinese clubs, has recovered from a foot injury sustained in the 3-0 league defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers last week.
"Marko worked the complete week. It is good news, of course. He is a player who makes a difference and important for our team," Pellegrini told a news conference on Thursday.
"He needs to recover his best form after not playing and his last injury and I hope he will be an important player for the remainder of the season."
An injury crisis meant West Ham were left with only 15 first-team players at the end of January but that has changed this month as Pellegrini continues to receive positive news from the treatment room.
The Chilean manager has pencilled in Lanzini for a return against Fulham on Feb. 22, which could be the Argentina playmaker's first appearance since rupturing a knee ligament during a training session with the national team last June.
"I hope that Manu Lanzini will be ready for Fulham, at least to go to the bench, if he continues improving over the next two weeks," Pellegrini added.
"Ryan Fredericks is OK working with us and Fabian Balbuena will be ready in a couple of weeks. So, for the last weeks of the season, those are the players who must make the difference."
Frenchman Samir Nasri is still struggling with the calf injury that has kept him out of the last three matches, while fellow midfielder Jack Wilshere will begin rehabilitation following ankle surgery next week.