x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Zola in the dark over Ashton

The West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola admits he still has no idea when Dean Ashton will return from an ankle injury that the striker suffered in September.

West Ham's hopes of Premier League survival have been hit by the news that Dean Ashton may miss the rest of the season through injury. The striker has been sidelined since September after he had to undergo surgery on an ankle injury picked up in the manager Gianfranco Zola's first training session. Initial thoughts were that the striker would be out of action for less than a month, but Zola admits he still has no idea when he will have Ashton at his disposal again.

"He had an operation and we'll wait a couple of months before we can assess him," said the Hammers boss. "He is progressing very well. "I spoke to him a couple of days ago and he's happy with the progress. "I can't say whether he'll be back in March, April, February... it depends how he progresses. I don't know honestly, it is impossible to say so soon." *PA Sport