Bilic hopes Ayew can return for West Ham soon

Matt Stead

Slaven Bilic hopes club-record signing Andre Ayew can make a quick return to West Ham action after suffering a thigh problem against Chelsea.

Ayew trudged off little more than half an hour into his Premier League bow for the Hammers, before Chelsea prevailed 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Monday night.

Diego Costa’s late winner left boss Bilic frustrated his West Ham side could not hold on for a point after James Collins’ equaliser, before the former Croatia defender turned his attentions to his squad’s injury issues.

“Ayew has a thigh injury, he told me it’s not a big one but you never know,” said Bilic of the £20.5million signing from Swansea.

“He will have a scan and we have to wait for the result of the scan to know how long he will be out.”

Ayew remains a doubt for Thursday’s Europa League trip to Astra Giurgui in Romania, with fellow summer recruit Sofiane Feghouli still battling a hamstring problem.

West Ham’s injury issues and free agent Hal Robson Kanu’s presence in the Stamford Bridge stands have drawn rumours the Hammers are weighing up a move for the Wales striker.

Bilic insisted he will continue to ease Dimitri Payet back into action, after starting the France playmaker on the bench for Monday’s defeat at Chelsea.

West Ham certainly lacked a clarity of attacking intent in Payet’s absence for the opening hour on Monday, but Bilic believes the 29-year-old still needs time to hit top speed after his Euro2016 exploits with France.

“Feghouli picked up something against Juventus which we didn’t think was an injury and he trained for a week but he is injured,” said Bilic.

“It was a plan for Dimitri to come on for not more than half an hour.

“I spoke to him yesterday, he felt good and he looks good in training, but he’s not ready yet for 90 minutes. It was the plan to bring him on.

“He gives you composure, he creates opportunities and space for other players.”