West Ham boss Slaven Bilic feels Andy Carroll is ready to return to his starting line-up this weekend against Manchester United.
The Hammers are without a win in five games after a fast start to the season under Bilic, who has confirmed that striker Diafra Sakho is facing up to eight weeks on the sidelines with the thigh injury he picked up in the 1-1 draw against West Brom.
Enner Valencia remains a couple of weeks short of match fitness and Bilic says now is the time for Carroll to step up to the plate.
Carroll has proved a hit coming off the bench this season, notably when grabbing the winner against Chelsea at Upton Park in October.
The big striker has found things more difficult when starting, however, as he did in the defeats to Watford and Spurs as well as the draw with Everton recently.
He found himself back on the bench as West Ham failed to capitalise on Mauro Zarate’s early free-kick in the draw with the Baggies at Upton Park.
Bilic has hinted Carroll will get another chance to impress against Louis van Gaal’s side and the boss wants him to help alleviate the pressure.
“Andy has lifted our game when he’s come in for the last 20 or 30 minutes and now he needs to show that from the start,” Bilic said. “Man Utd are different to the Ferguson era, but they are winning. They are not conceding goals and they are having the ball.
“We haven’t won in the last four games so we want to kill the pressure in a positive way on Saturday.”
West Ham are 7.50 to add Old Trafford to their impressive list of away wins this season. United are 1.44 while the draw is 4.20.