West Ham rue absence of striker Ashton

West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola is missing the goalscoring prowess of long term injury victim Dean Ashton.

West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola is missing the goalscoring prowess of long term injury victim Dean Ashton.

The striker has been out since September after picking up a knock in training which required surgery.

"This is the season so far," said Zola. "I've lost him, probably the best finisher in the team.

"I can't say whether he will be back in March, April, February... it depends how he progresses.

"I don't think we will have him back in January or February, but I hope soon.

"He had something causing problems with the cartilage in his ankle but because of his previous injuries it couldn't be a quick thing because they don't want to do any more damage."