West Ham striker Dean Ashton will not play this season after undergoing more surgery on his ankle injury.
Ashton has not played all season after picking up the injury while training with the England squad ahead of last August’s friendly with Greece.
The former Crewe striker had been back in training the last few weeks but he suffered a setback in training and the club decided that surgery was the best long-term option.
West Ham’s head physiotherapist Steve Allen is hopeful that Ashton will be fit in time to return for pre-season training.
“Dean underwent a successful diagnostic arthroscopy operation on his left ankle to remove a significant amount of scar tissue – a problem directly linked to the original injury he sustained,” Allen told the club’s official website.
“We have left no stone unturned in our attempt to get Dean back out on the football field as soon as possible, but it was clear that he had gone as far as he could with the methods that had been used, and the only option was to have another look at the injury site.
“We sought the opinions of the leading ankle specialists in the country and, following their advice, the decision was made to operate.
“It will be six weeks before he is back running, and we felt that the timing was right, in order for Dean to make a fresh start with the rest of his team-mates when the squad returns for pre-season training in the summer.
“We look forward to seeing him back to full fitness then.”