West Ham V Sunderland at Olympic Stadium : Match Preview

21 October 2016
West Ham V Sunderland - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

West Ham striker Andy Carroll no closer to a return

Andy Carroll's latest comeback has been delayed with no return in sight for the injury-plagued West Ham striker.

The 27-year-old, who has started just 38 Premier League matches in over three years with the Hammers, picked up a knee problem in the Europa League tie with Romanian side Astra Giurgiu in August.

The initial prognosis was that Carroll would be sidelined for four to six weeks but over two months later the former Newcastle and Liverpool frontman is no closer to returning.

Manager Slaven Bilic said: "It was a very strange injury. He stayed on the pitch for the whole game and I didn't even notice he got injured until the end of the game or the next day when we did all the scans.

"Originally it was four to six weeks - and we were fuming about it, it was a shocking prognosis - but now it's way longer than that so all that I can say is he's working really hard, he's progressing, but its slower than we expected.

'He's progressing but it's not at the speed that we wanted and he wanted. He's working hard and getting better every day but unfortunately he's still not ready to train with us.

"All I know is that it's about weeks - but then it was about weeks at the beginning when it happened."

Bilic has at least been boosted by the return to training of club-record signing Andre Ayew ahead of schedule.

The Ghana forward, who joined the Hammers from Swansea in August for B#20.5million, sustained a thigh injury half an hour into his debut against Chelsea.

Ayew rejoined his team-mates on the training pitch on Monday and has an outside chance of being in the squad to face Sunderland at the weekend.

"We were expecting him back later, in December or late November, so we are delighted that he's back and now we're going to see," added Bilic.

"He looks good in training and we're going to try to prepare him for games as soon as possible. We have a couple of sessions before the game against Sunderland and then we'll see.

"If we talk about Saturday I'm not going to rule it out, but it's unlikely."

West Ham are without Aaron Cresswell through suspension against Sunderland following his controversial red card against Crystal Palace.

David Moyes has insisted he is big enough to handle the pressure of implementing a long-term plan at Sunderland in the face of yet another battle for Premier League survival.

The 53-year-old has endured an eventful week in the wake of a 2-0 defeat at Stoke which left the Black Cats rooted to the foot of the table, a depressingly familiar situation in recent seasons.

Sources on Wearside have dismissed claims a Chinese consortium is ready to reinstall Sam Allardyce as manager should it mount a successful takeover bid - it is understood informal exploratory talks foundered some time ago - and Moyes and new chief executive Martin Bain remain firmly focused on their blueprint.

Having experienced the pressure of an all-too-brief reign as Manchester United manager, the Scot is confident he can shoulder the burden.

He said: "I'm big enough. I've seen it and I know what it's like. I don't like it but you have got to go with it. That's what you have to do, it's part of the job.

"The plan is to first of all make everybody realise that there is a long-term plan and get away from the thought that it's going to be something other than that, so we are working together to change things.

"Martin is doing an awful lot of things behind the scenes which won't necessarily always be noticed because obviously, what you will really judge us on is what you see on the grass at the moment. I'm the one who has got to get the bit on the grass right."

Defenders Lamine Kone and Patrick van Aanholt are fit for Sunderland after a hamstring problem and adductor strain respectively.

Goalkeeper Vito Mannone (fractured elbow) and midfielder Sebastian Larsson (knee) are back in light training while winger Adnan Januzaj is expected to join them next week.

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