West Ham United striker Andy Carroll is in contention to make his first appearance for over three months in the English Football League Cup quarter-final against Manchester United. The England international has not played since August after a series of setbacks since undergoing surgery to correct a knee injury suffered in the Europa League.
The 27-year-old featured in the club's first four games of the season, including in the Premier League opener at Chelsea, but the injury suffered while playing against Romanian side Astana has plagued him for a number of weeks. The former Newcastle United and Liverpool forward has ensured an injury-ravaged spell at Upton Park, having made just 23 top flight starts in five years at the club.
However, having made a full return to first team training with West Ham, Carroll is in contention for the second game against United this week. Manager Slaven Bilic says he will be assessed in the lead up to the game and could make his long-awaited return at Old Trafford should he come through unscathed.
"We are going to see what happens today," Bilic said, according to official West Ham website. "Andy has a good recovery and has been training with us. If he progresses well and there are not any minor setbacks, he will definitely be ready for Saturday and we will make a decision about the United game after training. We will assess him after training to see how he is. With Andy we take it on a daily basis."
But it is not all good news for West Ham on the injury front, with forward Diafra Sakho facing another lengthy spell out after picking up a hamstring injury in the 1-1 draw at United on Sunday 26 November. The Senegal international was withdrawn from the game after 66 minutes of his second game since returning from a back injury.
Sahko had missed the entire season up until he started against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, prior to his facing United. But Bilic fears the worst after losing the hitman, but he does not expect Sakho to spend another three months on the sidelines.
"Diafra picked up a hamstring injury and we are waiting to see how bad the injury is," he added. "He will definitely not be available for the game on Wednesday. We will have to wait for the results of the scan to see how many weeks we will be without him. It is a big blow for us because we know what he can give to us and he showed that against Tottenham and Manchester United on Sunday. I can only hope it is not going to be long.
"It is very frustrating, especially for the player who was working so hard to come back and made an impact straight away. To be sidelined again is awful for him, but I am sure this injury will not be like the one that forced him to miss the start of the season."