Dyer set to return after 17 months out

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The Independent Football

Kieron Dyer, the West Ham midfielder, is finally ready for a return to action after spending the last 17 months recovering from a broken leg.

Dyer underwent three operations on the injury suffered in a Carling Cup tie at Bristol Rovers in August 2007 and then had his return delayed this season by a stress fracture. But the England international has impressed his manager Gianfranco Zola in training this week and he is poised to be included in the squad for today's FA Cup third-round tie against Barnsley at Upton Park.

Zola said: "He's focused and he's very excited to play and we will try to get him back because he's an important player. I've seen him training, he's trying very hard and he's got a lot of qualities.

"It's been a big injury for him and he's been working well in the last few weeks. I know it's frustrating because he's training, training, training and he would like to play. After such a long time out it would be difficult for him to be involved from the beginning."