Hammers hit by Carroll blow
West Ham's pre-season preparations have been thrown into turmoil after striker Andy Carroll announced he is to undergo surgery on an ankle injury.
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The club-record signing missed most of last season due to a troublesome foot problem and was ruled out of two friendlies on the current tour of New Zealand as a precaution.
Reports are suggesting Carroll could now be out for up to another four months after confirming he requires surgery to fix the issue.
"Going under the knife tomorrow morning and absolutely devastated to be missing the start of the season!" he tweeted.
The news will come as a major blow to Hammers' boss Sam Allardyce as he looks to improve on the 13th placed Barclays Premier League finish in the last campaign.
England international Carroll enjoyed a good loan spell at Upton Park during the 2012-13 campaign and agreed to a permanent move ahead of the following season.
But a heel injury kept him sidelined for much longer than West Ham had hoped when they forked out a club-record amount for the Liverpool man, who has made just 16 appearances since.
The 25-year-old did not return to action until January, by which time Allardyce's position was under threat with the Hammers in the bottom three and struggling for goals in Carroll's absence.
Carroll featured in just three league games before being sent off in the fourth, a 2-0 victory over Swansea, meaning he sat out another three fixtures.
He scored twice after returning for a second time as West Ham eventually dragged themselves well clear of the relegation battle.
Allardyce had already identified the need to add extra fire power to his squad ahead of the new season before Carroll's latest injury nightmare.
Mauro Zarate is already on board and only a work permit application is keeping Ecuador's World Cup star Enner Valencia from joining from Pachuca.
The 59-year-old may now go back into the transfer market for another forward, while questions will be asked as to whether Carroll can ever maintain a level of fitness for a prolonged period of time.