Goal-shy West Ham United still have no idea when record signing Andy Carroll will be able to return from a foot injury. The London club, only out of the relegation zone on goal difference, host Chelsea on Saturday with manager Sam Allardyce admitting that he is in the dark about Carroll's fitness.
The 24-year-old, who has not played a game for the club since signing on a permanent basis for £15 million from Liverpool in June after a spell on loan, has been receiving treatment in Amsterdam since injuring his right foot in training in September.
"We are trying to get a date out of the guys over in Amsterdam but they are reluctant to give us any clear indication of when he's going to be able to join us back here and start training with the squad and getting back into the team," Allardyce said.
"It's obviously a great worry and concern for us all and one we have to make sure we deal with. To take the pressure off us all, we need results that we haven't achieved in the first 11 games."
West Ham have the best defensive record outside the top seven but a meagre nine goals in the league has left them hovering dangerously close to the relegation zone.
Allardyce has named a striker-less line-up in recent games and suggested his side's hard-working approach this season could upset a Chelsea team "vulnerable" after their recent loss to Newcastle United and draw with West Bromwich Albion.
"Creating chances will be at a premium, so we have to be clinical enough to take them when we get them," he said.
"If we can do that, as Newcastle showed a few weeks ago, we can frustrate Chelsea and win the game. That game showed there is a vulnerability there and, if your team masters its tactics, you can beat a team as big as Chelsea."