West Ham manager Sam Allardyce's pre-match plans for the clash against Southampton at St Mary's on Sunday took a big hit with news that striker Andy Carroll suffered another foot injury in training and faces another lengthy spell on the sidelines.
"It's frustrating and devastating for Andy, because we were sort of thinking that this Sunday (against Southampton) might be his first appearance on the substitutes bench, having started to join in training," said Allardyce. "It's the same type of injury (to the heel problem) but in a different area. It is not an Achilles injury, as has been suggested, but instead it involves the band of tissue which runs under the foot.
"According to the specialist, the chance of a recurrence of that type of injury is about four per cent but unfortunately for Andy, he was one of the unlucky ones. He doesn't need an operation but we need to give the foot time to re-heal, continue the rehab and get him back in training again."
Allardyce, who has seen his side win just one of their last 15 away matches in the Premier League, will be hoping the Hammers avoid back-to-back defeats in the wake of a 1-0 home defeat to Stoke before the international break.
Southampton (1-1-1) have picked up four points from their opening three matches, the same return as West Ham. Both sides have struggled to score goals in Premier League action. The Saints have netted just four times in eight matches dating back to last season, while the Hammers managed 12 goals in 11 league outings.
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino insists his side will take on West Ham in a positive frame of mind and be looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the season - a 1-0 defeat at Norwich.
"We have the right mentality and a positive attitude." said Pochettino. "Our main goal is to win - that's all we want to do. We have the right mentality and a positive attitude. We're expecting a really tough game, but we're confident we can get the three points.
"When you lose a game that you don't think you should have lost, the feeling isn't very good. As I always say, what's really important is that we are as high in the table as we can be at the end of the season - that's our aim."
The Hammers took four points off Southampton last term, drawing 1-1 at St Mary's with Carroll scoring seven minutes after Gaston Ramirez had given the Saints the lead on the hour.
West Ham cruised to a 4-1 home win over the Saints in October with Mark Noble scoring twice, while Kevin Nolan and Modibo Maiga also found the net. Adam Lallana scored the lone goal for Southampton.
That 4-1 win was West Ham's only victory in their last seven meetings with the Saints dating back to October 2001. Southampton have won three and drawn three of those contests.
This will be the 98th time these sides have squared off, with the Hammers holding a small advantage with 37 wins to the Saints' 32. The sides have drawn 28 times and first met in the first round of the 1920 FA Cup with West Ham winning a replay 3-1.
Their offence has been non-existent away from home, scoring just six times in their last 14 away contests. West Ham haven't scored more than once in any of their last 17 away from Upton Park.
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