Dyer warms up for Christmas comeback with friendly runout

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The Independent Football

The West Ham United midfielder Kieron Dyer is aiming for a Christmas return to action after 15 months out with a career-threatening injury. The 29-year-old broke his leg against Bristol Rovers in a Carling Cup tie in August last year, less than a fortnight after joining the Hammers from Newcastle, but is set to feature in a friendly this week.

Dyer has had three operations on the injury and, although he was close to returning for the start of this season, he suffered a stress fracture in training and was ruled out for another three months. West Ham have organised a friendly behind closed doors this week especially for him and another long-term injury victim, Jonathan Spector.

"It will be great to get that first game under my belt," Dyer said yesterday. "I'm not going to say I'm going to be thrown straight back into the first team. Ideally, I will have three or four preparation games and then be ready, perhaps for the Christmas period. Every day I feel sharper and I need to make up for lost time. My 30th birthday is coming up later this month and some players start to look toward the end of their careers when they reach that milestone. With the amount of football I've missed, though, I feel I have a good five years still left in me."

Sebastian Giovinco will not be joining West Ham, according to his agent, Andrea D'Amico. The Juventus attacking midfielder is a target of the London club, with the Hammers' coach, Gianfranco Zola, showing an interest in taking the 21-year-old on loan, having previously worked with him at Italy Under-21 level.