Aston Villa v West Ham: Returning trio bolster Sherwood plans
Tim Sherwood has warned the returning Alan Hutton, Scott Sinclair and Gabriel Agbonlahor they must earn their Aston Villa shirts ahead of this weekend's clash with West Ham.
Hutton and Sinclair were named on the bench for last weekend's win against Everton - the former making a cameo return from an ankle injury.
Sinclair was not risked after a hamstring complaint, while Agbonlahor has not featured in almost a month, also due to a hamstring problem.
All three could return to Sherwood's starting XI as Villa seek to record a third win from four Premier League outings, but the former Tottenham boss insists their places are not guaranteed.
"Gabby's back this weekend. To have Alan Hutton, Scott Sinclair and Gabby back in the squad is great. We're looking healthier," Sherwood said.
"It's up to the boys coming back from injury to win back their shirts. They all know that and they respect that.
"The boys realise they are in a severe situation and there's a real danger of relegation. They are doing everything they can to keep this great club in the Premier League where it belongs.
"We're up against an excellent manager in Sam Allardyce. He's kept West Ham in the top half of the Premier League for many years now. They have quality, flair and pace. If we do our job, we'll be okay."
Sam Allardyce's West Ham remain on course for a top-10 finish, having beaten Burnley 1-0 last weekend at Upton Park.
That victory ensured West Ham will set a new points haul for a season since their promotion back to the top flight in 2012.
"We want to get the most amount of points that this team has ever got since promotion," striker Carlton Cole told the club's official website.
"We've now beaten our previous best of 46 points but now we need to get to the 50s.
"It would be a great achievement and I think we can do it."
West Ham will likely be without Winston Reid again as the defender continues his rehabilitation from a hamstring problem.