Carroll pleased with Hammers return

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Published: Sunday 9th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Striker Andy Carroll intends to make up for lost time after finally ending his “annoying” spell on the sidelines with a late cameo in West Ham’s goalless draw against Aston Villa.

The 25-year-old made his first appearance of the new season on Saturday when introduced as a substitute at the start of four minutes’ stoppage time at the Boleyn Ground – and almost snatched victory with a close-range header which was somehow clawed away by inspired Villa keeper Brad Guzan.

Carroll, signed by the Irons in a club-record £15million deal from Liverpool in June 2013, admits it was frustrating having to carefully manage his rehabilitation after ankle surgery, and now has regaining a regular starting place firmly in his sights.

“It is a great feeling to be back out on the pitch. It took a long time, a lot of hard work and I have to give credit to all of the medical staff for getting me back fit,” he said.

“I had to make sure it was 100 percent before I started doing anything. I had a couple of weeks where I could not do anything, even go to the gym.

“With me being (an) active (person), that was more annoying than anything.

“(After I came on) I had a couple of chances and was unlucky with the one when the keeper made a great save.

“Now I am back with my first bit of football, so going forwards I am going to be champing at the bit.”

West Ham, who had beaten defending champions Manchester City in their last home game, dominated for long spells, but found a well-organised Villa side, looking to end a six-match losing streak, difficult to break down.

When the visitors were opened up, American goalkeeper Guzan was in good form, saving from both Stewart Downing and James Collins during the first half.

The usually reliable Senegal striker Diafra Sakho, fit again after a shoulder problem, dropped a header wide before the Irons went more direct during the closing stages, with Carroll causing mayhem in the Villa penalty box, only to be denied by a brilliant reflex stop from Guzan.

Even though Villa – without suspended Belgium forward Christian Benteke – were under pressure for long spells, they still provided a threat themselves on the counter.

Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann both had chances to break the deadlock.

Villa boss Paul Lambert praised his side for the way they stood up to the physical challenge and hopes they can use the result as a platform for more positive results.

“We are not the biggest of teams, but they put their bodies on the line,” he said.

“We have had an horrendous run of fixtures, that has made it tough, hopefully now we can pick things up.”

Published: Sunday 9th November 2014 by The News Editor

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