Bellamy may miss festive programme as surgery looms again

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The Independent Football

West Ham United will decide in the coming days whether their striker Craig Bellamy requires a second operation on his persistent abdominal injury. Bellamy has already spent six weeks out after the original surgery, which he underwent in Germany in October, failed to cure the problem.

West Ham's medical staff have been working on a solution but are beginning to fear more surgery may be the only answer. And that would almost certainly rule Bellamy out of the club's hectic Christmas schedule, with a run of eight games in a month starting with tonight's Carling Cup quarter-final against Everton.

The West Ham manager, Alan Curbishley, said: "We have to decide this week whether to continue with the route we are going down which, if it is successful, will result in a shorter route. We may have to go down the surgery route which will be a longer one. If that is the case I can't put a time-frame on it."

West Ham believe the problem stemmed from the foot supports Bellamy inserted into his boots in the pre-season. The problem first flared up in West Ham's Carling Cup win over Bristol Rovers in August. Bellamy has made just eight starts since his 7.5m move to Upton Park from Liverpool in the summer.