West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has been dealt a major blow with the news that striker Andy Carroll is to miss the rest of the season due to a knee injury. The situation has been compounded after the Hammers failed to secure a forward during the January transfer window.
After sending Mauro Zarate on loan to Queens Park Rangers, the east London side tried to address the lack of effective attackers up front with the signing of Emmanuel Adebayor.
However, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy reportedly refused to bolster a direct rival and blocked the deal.
And the failure to sign the Togo striker has put pressure on West Ham after the club confirmed Carroll will undergo surgery on 17 February and miss the rest of the season – leaving Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia and out of favour Carlton Cole as the only options up front.
"Andy Carroll will have surgery on his injured knee on Tuesday following assessment by a specialist on Friday afternoon," the club confirmed.
"The England international injured his left knee during the second half of Wednesday night's 0-0 Barclays Premier League draw at Southampton. The recovery phase is expected to keep Carroll out for the remainder of the 2014-15 season."
Carroll suffered the injury but was forced to stay on the pitch because West Ham were down to 10 men - following Adrian's red card - and had made all three of their substitutions.
During the press conference on 13 February ahead of the FA Cup game against West Bromwich Albion, Allardyce said he hope the former Liverpool striker would be out for four to six weeks.
"I think around four to six weeks, depending on Andy's recovery rate. Some players heal quicker than others. We've had to deal with several injuries recently and Andy is now another one. I'm just pleased that we have players who are fit and able to play and we're playing well at the moment. We haven't been getting the victories we're looking for but we haven't been losing either," he said.
However, following an assessment by a specialist, the club later confirmed the injury is much worse than first thought and the player will be out of action for a longer period.
"It is traumatic when someone is going through a period when in a short time they overcome one injury and another occurs," Allardyce said.
"It's a completely new injury. We thought it might be a recurrence of the old one but unfortunately for Andy it is a new one and it looks a lot more serious."