Sam Allardyce believes West Ham’s record-signing Andy Carroll could be fit and ready to play again in “two to three weeks”.
The Hammers splashed out £15million to sign Carroll permanently in June 2013 but the England striker has started only 12 Barclays Premier League matches during an injury-ridden 16 months at Upton Park.
The powerhouse centre forward missed the first five months of last season with a foot injury and is yet to feature in the current campaign after tearing ankle ligaments on the club’s pre-season tour of New Zealand.
Carroll is now back in training and the plan is for the 25-year-old to play Under-18 and Under-21 games before returning to first-team action in mid-November.
“It’ll be another two to three weeks, if he has no niggles or problems, before we talk about playing him in the team at any level,” Allardyce said.
“We’ll try to get him through three or four behind-closed-doors games and if that goes all right then we would hope to have him back.
“It’s been a long, hard road again for Andy and one he’s been too familiar with recently, sadly.
“Hopefully he’ll have a major impact when he comes back again.”
West Ham desperately missed Carroll last year as the Hammers’ lack of goals saw them dragged into a relegation scrap.
It has been a different story so far this season, however, as summer signings Diafra Sakho and Enner Valencia have added some much-needed fire-power up front, pushing Allardyce’s side up to fourth in the table.
The former Bolton manager admits the team’s impressive start to the campaign means the club can afford to take extra care over Carroll’s return.
“Last time we got him back and he did his ankle but carried on playing so this time round we don’t want to (rush) him,” Allardyce said.
“We’re hopefully going to get him back as quick as we can but we’re not going to rush him back because, touch wood, there’s no desperate need at the moment.”
Sakho’s pace and finishing has revitalised West Ham’s attacking threat this season, with the Senegalese striker scoring in each of his last six games.
Sakho and Valencia were both on target in the 3-1 victory at Burnley last weekend and Allardyce will be hoping for more of the same when the Hammers host Manchester City on Saturday.
“From my point of view I thought it would have been a slower process but we wouldn’t have expected Enner Valencia to make such a big contribution either,” Allardyce said.
“The pair of them have hit it off together – it’s not just the goalscoring, it’s the energy they give the team which is very important in today’s highly competitive game.
“Your energy, intensity and sprinting capabilities are very important today in breaking down defences.
“They turned the game for us against Burnley because we weren’t very good in the first half and then two beautiful crosses creates two goals.
“That’s what you wish for, that’s what you dream of as a manager in the Premier League.”
Associated Press Report