West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola has allayed fears that striker Dean Ashton is about to retire.
Recent reports suggested that the 25-year old would be forced into early retirement after enduring injuries over the past few seasons.
However, Zola played down those reports, saying the former Crewe and Norwich City hit man was still training for full fitness.
"As far as I know, he's still doing his rehabilitation and I'm hoping to have him in my team. He's a player who can make a big difference," Zola said.
"Until they tell me something different, I'm hoping he'll come back."