West Ham United striker Andy Carroll has been denied a return to former side Newcastle United after being ruled out for at least four weeks with a hamstring injury. The England international was replaced after just 15 minutes during the win at AFC Bournemouth and will spend another spell on the sidelines in an injury-plagued career at Upton Park.
Since signing for the Hammers in 2013 from Liverpool, the 27-year-old has been hindered by heel, ankle and knee problems that have limited his involvement. This term, Carroll has made just seven Premier League starts and another spell out is expected to all-but end his hopes of being selected in the England squad for the 2016 European Championships.
The timing of Carroll's absence from the West Ham team comes on the eve of the visit to Newcastle, his former team, who he left for Liverpool in acrimonious circumstances in January 2011. Bilic has bemoaned his main striker's latest injury but says there is "no reason to be negative".
"He's having a scan but it's another one of those, four to six weeks," said Bilic, according to Eurosport. "He's a positive lad, but of course he is gutted for several reasons. He felt he was back and enjoying his football. It's not the end of the world, though. If everything goes well he will be back very soon so there is no reason to be negative. If it goes as we expect then he will be back for a significant part of the season, the last 10-15 games, with enough time to make a huge impact on our season."
The news regarding Carroll comes amid the imminent return of Victor Moses, who is set to resume his season for West Ham after a month out with a hamstring problem. The Nigeria international has not played since the goalless draw with Manchester United but trained either side of the win over Bournemouth.
"Victor Moses started training before Bournemouth with the team and he is available and training with us today and tomorrow," Bilic added. "We are going to see the shape he is in during the game that we have on Saturday."
The double injury update follows confirmation from West Ham's head of medical and sport science, Stijn Vandenbroucke, that both Cheikhou Kouyate and Mauro Zarate were in contention to feature in the game. Both players missed the game at Bournemouth with groin and thigh issues but are fit to resume their seasons.
"Cheikhou Kouyate and Mauro Zarate have a good chance to be available for some part of the game at St James' Park," Vandenbroucke wrote on the official West Ham website. "Cheikhou suffered a groin problem in the win over Liverpool on 2 January, while Mauro had a small thigh problem last week in training."