West Ham United's injury-hit striker Dean Ashton has had another operation on his ankle, the Premier League club have confirmed.
Ashton has been out of action since September after a previous surgery failed to cure the problem and no date has been set for his return after this latest operation.
"It was disappointing to have another operation. But it had to be done and was only a minor thing, a small problem that had to be dealt with and I am glad it is all done now," Ashton said.
"I was also very pleased to have two of the best ankle specialists in the room at the same time when I had the operation done. The feedback I have had from everyone has been great, so that is very good for me."
Ashton is yet to play for Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola but he is hopeful he is now on the road to recovery. "When you are out this long they wonder what is wrong, especially as I started the season okay," he said.
"But as any player will tell you, this is what it can be like with any injury you pick up. The important thing is I am working hard and looking to be firing on all cylinders when I come back."