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Another Andy Carroll injury hampers Hammers top 10 chances

Coral have cut West Ham’s relegation odds from 6/1 to 5/1, following the news that £15m striker Andy Carroll has sustained torn ankle ligaments on the club’s pre-season tour of New Zealand.

Since leaving hometown team Newcastle United for Liverpool, and during his subsequent spell with the Hammers, the 25-year-old England international has been dogged by injuries. Carroll, who will now undergo surgery, could miss up to four months, putting his return date around the end of November.

To once again be without his main frontman will be a huge blow to Hammers boss Sam Allardyce and the club’s ambitions. Carroll was sidelined for much of last season by a heel problem and missed out on selection for England’s World Cup squad as a result.

Allardyce has signed two forward players this summer already, however, but now more will be expected from Argentine attacker Mauro Zarate and Ecuador’s Enner Valencia. The latter sealed a £12m switch to Upton Park, subject to gaining a work permit from the Home Office.

Big Sam will need former Birmingham loanee Zarate, now 27, to replicate the encouraging form of six years ago he showed in that temporary stint at St Andrew’s. He must also hope that Valencia, a 66/1 shot to be Premier League top scorer, can translate his three World Cup group stage goals at the Brazil finals into the upcoming club campaign.

These West Ham new boys look to have been brought to the club as potential foils for Carroll, but may be charged with developing an understanding with his understudy Carlton Cole instead. Allardyce has pledged to play attacking football in a bid to appease angry fans, who were vocal in their displeasure of his perceived physical, one-dimensional approach.

Hammers owners David Gold and David Sullivan have brought in former Upton Park favourite Teddy Sheringham as a striker coach to ensure the style change desired by supporters takes place. Big Sam’s brief is to deliver a top 10 finish, but odds on achieving this have drifted to 13/5 from 5/2.