West Ham United boss Gianfranco Zola has been dealt a major blow with Dean Ashton ruled out for five months.

West Ham striker Ashton had surgery on his left ankle yesterday.

Boss Zola was hoping he would be back in action by January.

But docs say it could even be April before Ashton, 24, is 100 per cent fit, says The Sun.

The England star was crocked during Zola's first training session in charge. The club will now monitor his progress and decide whether to flog him in the summer.