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Ashton out of Fulham v West Ham

last updated Friday 26th September 2008, 6:48 AM
Dean Ashton
Dean Ashton
West Ham striker Dean Ashton is to have an ankle operation next week and faces around a month on the sidelines.

The England international, 24, is to have arthroscopic surgery after injuring his left ankle in training last week.

A brief statement on the club's website said: "Dean Ashton will undergo arthroscopic surgery to his left ankle next week to help assess the extent of his injury."

Ashton has already had to sit out last weekend's 3-1 Barclays Premier League win over Newcastle and the midweek Carling Cup defeat at Watford.

Early indications are that Ashton could be out until the end of October, which would make him unavailable for five league fixtures and England's World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Belarus.

Confirmation that Ashton is to go under the knife is a blow for the 24-year-old, who has had rotten luck on the injury front over the last two years.

It will be disappointing too for new West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola - but that setback would be eased tomorrow if Craig Bellamy is passed fit to play against Fulham at the weekend.

The Welsh striker has made just one appearance this season, scoring off the bench in the 4-1 home win against Blackburn.

Bellamy would slot neatly into the 4-3-3 formation Zola employed with such success against Newcastle last weekend, when new Italian striker David di Michele scored twice.

Carlton Cole impressed Zola with his performance as the lone striker and he could also return after missing the Watford defeat with a slight ankle injury.

Source Alex Lowe at PA Sport
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