The Paraguay international was a key factor behind the Hammers’ revival towards the end of 2018, but he suffered a setback right before the Premier League clash against Arsenal at the London Stadium.
The east London outfit have since gone through a tough run in the Premier League and yesterday’s 3-1 home win over Fulham was only their first since beating the Gunners in mid-January.
Speaking after the game, Pellegrini was positive regarding the fitness of key players including Manuel Lanzini and Samir Nasri, who have recently recovered from their respective injury setbacks.
He added that Balbuena is not far off from making a comeback of his own after missing nearly 45 days of first-team action for an operation on his left knee.
“Of course, not only Lanzini but Arnautovic is getting fit again and Nasri will be very important. Next week Fabian Balbuena could be back again, so of course I never complained when we didn’t have the results but it’s very difficult to play with 8/9 injured players,” he was quoted by the club’s official website.
West Ham started in the worst possible fashion against Fulham on Friday night after going 1-0 down within three minutes.
However, the Hammers thereafter dominated the proceedings, and went into the break with a 2-1 lead with goals from Javier Hernandez and Issa Diop, although the former’s was fortuitous after his hand ball was not spotted.
In the second period, Pellegrini’s team managed to fend off the threat from the Cottagers and the game was finally put to bed in injury time with Michail Antonio pouncing on the opposition’s defensive mishap.
With the victory, the Hammers have moved to within four points off the seventh position in the standings, and they have a real chance at qualifying for next season’s Europa League group stage.