EXCLUSIVE: Green returns to action in secret friendly

Hammers goalkeeper Robert Green is close to a return to action after appearing in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Monday

West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green played in a secret behind-closed-doors game for the Hammers on Monday morning to signal he is close to a return to full fitness.

The 31-year-old has missed four matches after injuring his knee in the clash with Ipswich Town on September 27.

But it seems that he has recovered more quickly than first thought and he is angling for a return to action in next Tuesday’s Championship clash with Bristol City at Upton Park.

Green played in a very young Hammers team that lost 5-2 to Tottenham.

Manuel Almunia, who kept his second clean sheet in four games in the Hammers’ 1-0 win at Brighton on Monday, ends his loan spell after Saturday’s match with Leicester City, and it now seems likely he will return to Arsenal.

“When Robert Green is alright we’re ok,” said manager Sam Allardyce after the Brighton game.

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“The understanding with Manny was he is here to play first-team football until Robert gets fit and then we’ll take a decision.

“When he’s fit I think it’s obvious he’s going to go back in and then Manny might well go back.”

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