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Ashton targets pre-season for West Ham return

West Ham's Dean Ashton has been out of action since September 2008 and went under the knife in February. The 25-year-old is on the comeback trail, though, and has begun to undergo light exercises.

"It's a light at the end of the tunnel point for me," Ashton said.

"If you think about it, running forms a large part of training and playing for a footballer and to get to this stage again now is a real step up for me.

"The ultimate aim is to get back running and feel completely comfortable doing this, so I do everything one step at a time. It is good to have this as part of my programme now, though, and I will continue to work hard to take it further.

"I want to come back when everything is right, not return prematurely and end up getting another injury, because all the hard work will be for nothing. If it means continuing to be patient and let things take as long as they need to, then that's what I will do."

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