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West Ham boss Sam Allardyce says he will not bring Andy Carroll back from injury too soon despite the Hammers hovering just above the relegation zone.
Carroll impressed while on loan from Liverpool last season but has not made a single appearance this campaign after the Hammers snapped him up on a permanent basis in the summer.
The striker has been struggling with a troublesome heel injury and has been sent to Belgium and Holland for treatment in attempt to cure the problem once and for all.
The 24-year-old returned to training yesterday but Allardyce is refusing to rush him back just in case he suffers a setback that keeps him out for even longer.
West Ham have won just three games this season and following Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat against fellow strugglers Crystal Palace, there had been calls to get Carroll back in the side immediately.
However, that is not a risk Allardyce is willing to take.
“We will get him back as quick as we possibly can, but my position is to take a sensible view,” said Allardyce.
“We are in a difficult position at the minute but I can’t panic into putting Andy in too quickly. It is my responsibility to make sure he is there to stay when he comes back onto the field, and not just one or two games.
“In the position we’re in at the moment it is extremely tough to resist putting him in. I’d like to put him on the bench at Liverpool, but that would be rather stupid.”