West Ham United manager Slaven Bilić has put the pressure on injury-plagued striker Andy Carroll to maintain a suitable level of fitness this season, if he wants to stand any chance of receiving a new contract offer from the east London club. Carroll has spent much of his career on the treatment table, his most recent absence being through a troublesome groin injury.
Speaking ahead of his side's crunch London derby against Spurs on Saturday afternoon, via
FourFourTwo, Bilić faced a number of questions on his first-team squad, including queries over Carroll's future with the club. Bilić stated:
"Andy has got two years left, and this is to be fair is his season to be fit, to stay fit. If we are talking about his contract, the question mark about him is his fitness, how much he is available during the season."
The Geordie giant appears to be suitably fit for the time being, and has started for the Hammers in their last two matches. With the signing of notorious fox-in-the-box Javier Hernández, Carroll now has more competition for his starting place, a factor deemed as positive by Bilić:
"He's got competition now. He had competition last year on paper but Diafra Sakho was injured. Now we have Chicharito because we didn't want to stay just on Andy, knowing what happened in the last couple of seasons. It is good to have competition."
West Ham have endured a disappointing start to the 2017/18 Premier League campaign, and currently sit in 18th place after losing to the likes of Newcastle United and Southampton and Manchester United thus far.
The Saturday afternoon clash against Spurs will be crucial in the club's season, and Carroll could well play a pivotal part in unsettling the away side's defence.