West Ham boss Curbishley: Ashton getting stronger every day

West Ham United boss Alan Curbishley is excited with Dean Ashton's return to full fitness.

Reflecting on Ashton's goal scoring performance in Sunday's defeat at Newcastle, Curbs told whufc.com: "Deano still needs more football but when you compare his performances against Newcastle and Middlesbrough to his first start of the season at Reading three weeks ago, then you can see the difference in his fitness levels.

"We've had to handle Dean in a similar fashion to that of Michael Owen and, fortunately, he's having an injury free run at the moment.

"Thankfully, he's not had any setbacks like Michael and, after coming through pre-season, he's now looking stronger and stronger. Deano spent the summer concentrating on the fact that he needed to get through pre-season to give himself a base and we're really pleased for him, right now.

"Dean's been out for a year and a bit and he's just happy to be back playing at the moment. We've not even discussed his chances of getting a call-up for England because we're not looking any further than just getting him through matches for West Ham United.

"Steve McClaren and his people have been to our recent games and they would've all seen that he's getting himself stronger and sharper, so we'll just have to wait and see.

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