Andy Carroll is set to return for West Ham’s clash against Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.
The 25-year-old has served his three-match ban after receiving a straight red card against Swansea City on Feb. 1. Carroll was dismissed by referee Howard Webb when he appeared to catch Chico Flores in the face with his arm, and a Football Association tribunal upheld the suspension after West Ham's initial appeal had failed.
Speaking ahead of Saturday's trip to Merseyside, Sam Allardyce put forward Carroll's case for inclusion in England's World Cup squad, even though the West Ham manager was unable to guarantee him a place in his own starting side.
Allardyce's dilemma centers on whether to recall Carroll or to retain faith in Carlton Cole, who has led the line in the ex-Liverpool man's absence and scored in last weekend's 3-1 victory over Southampton.
Whoever gets the nod will play in a team brimming with confidence following a superb upturn in form, with West Ham having won four straight Premier League games to take it to 10th in the table and ease fears of relegation.
The Londoners have scored nine times in that run while conceding just once, and have kept the most clean sheets in the division this season with 13 in 27 outings.
By contrast, Everton has lost three of its last four Premier League matches, albeit with those defeats all coming away and against teams in the top five in Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea.
If recent history is anything to go by, however, then the seventh-placed Merseysiders can head into this fixture full of optimism. Everton has gone 11 top-flight games without defeat against West Ham, and won the reverse fixture 3-2 in September.
The Toffees will be without captain Phil Jagielka (hamstring), while striker Lacina Traore is also absent with a similar issue. However, Martinez can include striker Romelu Lukaku, who returns from a three-match layoff with an ankle injury, while Antolin Alcaraz is also back in contention following a muscle ailment.
Allardyce, meanwhile, is without on-loan Roma striker Marco Borriello (calf).
- Sports & Recreation
- Sam Allardyce
- Chico Flores