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Absence of West Ham strike duo continues to frustrate

PUBLISHED: 11:50 21 October 2016

West Ham United's Andy Carroll.

West Ham United's Andy Carroll.

PA Wire/PA Images

Still no sign of Carroll and Sakho for West Ham

West Ham United's Diafra Sakho scores his side's first goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London. West Ham United's Diafra Sakho scores his side's first goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London.

The news this week that record signing Andre Ayew has returned to full-time training ahead of schedule merely seems to highlight the frustrations over the continued absence of strikers Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho.

Ayew was not supposed to be back until the end of November, but could even be considered for a run-out against Sunderland tomorrow (Saturday), but for Carroll and Sakho the news is not so good.

“It was a very strange injury that Andy picked up in Romania. He landed on his knee and overstretched it, but he felt ok,” said manager Slaven Bilic.

“He stayed on the whole game and I didn’t even notice that he was injured.

West Ham United's Andy Carroll shows concern for Andre Ayew (floor) West Ham United's Andy Carroll shows concern for Andre Ayew (floor)

“I was thinking ‘one game, oh no!’, but to still be without him now is a massive blow for us, but that is life unfortunately.”

It is ironic as the 27-year-old had come through his first full pre-season in years.

“He looked really good in games,” said Bilic. “He scored two against Juventus and against Chelsea he was our best player on the pitch, so to lose him like that, we are very frustrated.

“We know how good an influence he was last season for us whether starting or coming on as an impact sub. It was every time, every time he made an impact.

Manchester United's Chris Smalling (left) and West Ham United's Diafra Sakho battle for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London. Manchester United's Chris Smalling (left) and West Ham United's Diafra Sakho battle for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London.

“He was injured last season, we knew how much we missed him.

“He is working very hard, he is progressing, but it is slower than we had hoped.”

It seems to be a similar story for Senegal international striker Diafra Sakho.

Still only 26, the front man has not played since the last game of last season and would have joined West Brom in the summer if he had not failed a medical.

Andy Carroll, West Ham United Andy Carroll, West Ham United

That was three months ago and he is still not quite ready to join up with the rest of the first-team squad for full training.

“He is back on the pitch as I said last week, but now he is doing more of it and is looking really good,” explained the boss.

“The plan is to let him train with the under-23s for some full contact stuff and if he gets past that step, and he should, then he will join with the rest of the team the following week.”

It seems like a lengthy process and the question remains whether Sakho is mentally ready to join up with his team-mates on the training ground and play in the Premier League.

West Ham United's Diafra Sakho celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London. West Ham United's Diafra Sakho celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London.

Bilic thinks he is: “I spoke to him a few times and he is ready to come back,” he insisted.

“He has to play football one way or the other. I have always rated him and he is our player, so I am expecting a lot from him.”

That remains to be seen, but it seems that in the injury stakes it is one step forward for Ayew, one step back for Carroll with Sakho stuck in limbo.

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