Injuries pile up for Hammers
Kieron Dyer has suffered more injury misery, while West Ham United have no idea when Dean Ashton will be able to resume his career. The 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ may be just around the corner, but international honours could not be further away for the Hammers' one-time England hopefuls.
Dyer just cannot seem to get himself fit, while former Norwich striker Ashton has now been sidelined for 14 months with an ankle injury. Dyer, 30, missed most of last season with a broken leg and has started just one league match this term.
He was just on his way back from a four-week lay-off with a hamstring injury when his other hamstring went in training this week.
"Unfortunately Kieron is injured. He was coming back and he got another problem. It will be two or three weeks, hopefully," said Hammers manager Gianfranco Zola. "It's unbelievable and I feel so sorry for him. The boy works hard, he comes back and when he's ready to get into the team, 100 per cent fit, he gets injured again.
"It's a real pity because he is one of the players who could have given us something very good," he said. "He's been out for a long time now and every time he starts to get fit, he picks up an injury.
"They are not big issues; they are small injuries, but obviously his confidence is not good. But I have told him he has to fight, he has to be stronger than that. He will get there. It is frustrating for him, but you can't afford to be frustrated, it doesn't help."
Ashton, 25, is seemingly no nearer a comeback after undergoing ankle surgery at the start of the year.
"Dean Ashton is still trying to work on his problems. I haven't had an update recently, but he is trying very hard," said Zola. "It is another frustrating situation for me because he is another player who could make a difference for this club. But I hope very much for him, first, and then for me."
The Hammers are still without a win since the opening day of the campaign, but they showed they may yet be up for the fight this season when they came from 2-0 down at half-time to draw 2-2 with Arsenal last Sunday.
They head to Sunderland today in high spirits despite lying second from bottom in the Barclays Premier League.
"It's a game we will try to win, but it is not going to be easy," said Zola. "Table-wise our position is still not good, but we are playing better and with more confidence and we have some important players back. So now we need to convert all of that into points."