West Ham could welcome playmaker Manuel Lanzini back in the team against struggling Fulham after a seven-month injury absence with a serious knee problem.

The Argentine midfielder ruptured his knee in June last year and was ruled out for World Cup in Russia.

The Hammers have lacked creativity since then and his return will be a boost for manager Manuel Pellegrini ahead of their Lonndon derby at home against Fulham.

However Pellegrini will miss Samir Nasri after failing to shake off his calf injury in time to face Fulham on Friday night.

The midfielder has made just three appearances since he moved to West Ham on a free transfer in December at the end of his 18-month doping ban.

Fabian Balbuena is also back in contention following a knee problem.

The Paraguayan centre-back, a summer signing from Corinthians, has not featured since the 2-0 home defeat by Watford on December 22. With both teams having been eliminated from the FA Cup before the fifth round, Friday’s fixture represents a first for West Ham and Fulham since February 9.

The hosts have climbed to 10th after consecutive 1-1 draws against Liverpool and Crystal Palace, while Claudio Ranieri’s struggling side are 19th and eight points adrift of safety after back-to-back defeats.