West Ham sweat on Sakho fitness as Andy Carroll returns

West Ham United`s in-form striker Diafra Sakho is "touch and go" to face Stoke City at the weekend, but the flying Hammers will be boosted by Andy Carroll`s return to training, manager Sam Allardyce said on Thursday.

Reuters| Last Updated: Oct 31, 2014, 00:09 AM IST
West Ham sweat on Sakho fitness as Andy Carroll returns

London: West Ham United`s in-form striker Diafra Sakho is "touch and go" to face Stoke City at the weekend, but the flying Hammers will be boosted by Andy Carroll`s return to training, manager Sam Allardyce said on Thursday.

Senegal striker Sakho, who has scored six goals in his last six Premier League starts, injured a shoulder during West Ham`s surprise 2-1 victory over Manchester City last weekend.

"It`s touch and go, we`ll make a decision on Friday to see how his (Sakho`s) shoulder is," Allardyce told a news conference ahead of Saturday`s Premier League trip to Stoke.

"There`s no dislocation or fracture but he`s still in a bit of pain. We`ll assess it tomorrow, maybe on Saturday morning if needs be."

Carroll, signed on a permanent deal from Liverpool for 15 million pounds last year, is yet to feature this term after picking up an ankle injury during the close season.

He has returned to training, but Allardyce does not want to rush the burly England striker back into action, despite Sakho`s injury. 

"As a manager you want as many players to be fit as possible and Andy can make a very important contribution," Allardyce said. "Competition for places is always a good thing because it drives standards up.

"This is his pre-season now really because he missed out. We`ll take it game by game and see how he feels. Hopefully by game three or four of his recovery he`ll be able to play a full 90 minutes."

Fourth-placed West Ham, who have 16 points from nine matches, have surpassed expectations this season but Allardyce wants his side to remain grounded when they travel to Mark Hughes`s 12th-placed Stoke.

"I`ve sensed the joy and the goodwill feeling around the camp," he said. "There`s a buzz around training which is always good to see. 

"But the players now need to maintain and build on their performances. We need to make sure we are mentally prepared for the game against Stoke City. 

"It`s very easy to lose after a big result like the one against Manchester City so I need to make sure the players are guarded against that."