West Ham boss has Ashton concerns

West Ham boss Alan Curbishley fears Dean Ashton faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines after tweaking his knee in Saturday's defeat at Aston Villa.

Curbishley said: "I need this two-week break because I don't even know whether we've got 11 fit players at the moment.

"We're really stretched at the moment and are copping it right now. Long-termers like Julien Faubert and Kieron Dyer are out, while we've also got Anton Ferdinand, Scott Parker and Craig Bellamy absent.

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"Dean Ashton has tweaked his medial ligament and I'd imagine that a comeback within a week or a fortnight is looking tight, while Henri Camara has hurt his hamstring.

"George McCartney took a knock and Luis Boa Morte picked up a dead leg. That's par for the course for us at the moment and we just can't get a settled side together.

"We're not going to use it as an excuse, but even before the Aston Villa game, we had £27million-worth of players out of action and that's a big hit. Not many teams could cope with that.

"It's been five, long weeks since Craig Bellamy was streaking away from Reading's defence but after having the same surgeon and the same operation as Michael Owen on Thursday, he did a little bit of running on Friday.

"Despite all the injuries, we showed that we're digging in and now we've got to re-group and see who we've got available on Sunday week.

"Perhaps this fortnight's break will help us, I just hope that all of my players come back from international duty okay."

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