JACK Collison has returned to the West Ham fold just in time to contest two ‘cup finals’ in the next two weeks.
The Hammers midfielder came on as a substitute during the 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers at Upton Park on Saturday after more than a year on the sidelines with a serious knee injury.
And his reintegration with the first team could have come just in time for the club, who require two victories from their last leagues games against Wigan and Sunderland to stand a chance of remaining in the Premier League.
Defeat at the DW Stadium on Sunday would see West Ham relegated to the Championship, following Wolves’ win over West Brom last week which stretched the gap to four points between the Irons and safety.
Collison admitted it was a bitter-sweet moment for him against Rovers, entering the fray to a standing ovation from the home crowd but faced with the task of helping to overturn a one-goal deficit.
“I had mixed emotions,” he said. “Obviously it was great to get out on the pitch after such a long lay off.
“I spoke to the manager (on Friday) and had been training with them (first team) all week so I thought that I had half a chance of being involved.
“Obviously it is great for me on a personal level. It is just a shame that we could not get the three points.”
The Welshman is under no illusions about the scale of the task that lies ahead for the Hammers.
“It is a massive task, we know that, we are not going to lie. We are where we are.
“We go to Wigan next week and it is a must win game. We have to take three points.
“They will be thinking the same so it is set up to be a cup final, as well as the following week (against Sunderland). We need two wins and hopefully that is enough. I am looking forward to it.”
The Hammers are sweating on the fitness of midfielder Scott Parker, who has missed the last three games with an Achilles injury, while Matthew Upson could be included after missing the game against Blackburn.