Benni McCarthy is determined to make a major impact at West Ham next season - but looks set to face competition in attack as new manager Avram Grant aims to strengthen the squad.
The 32-year-old South African failed to make it into the World Cup party this summer, but has returned early to Chadwell Heath to make sure he hits the ground running when pre-season training resumes in earnest from Monday.
"I still have loads to prove to the West Ham fans. For me, I am like a new player coming in, because last season I am writing off. I have been training hard for two weeks now and it is all off my own back," McCarthy said.
McCarthy managed only five appearances for the Hammers and failed to score since being signed by former boss Gianfranco Zola from Blackburn during January after being troubled by a knee problem.
Grant, meanwhile, is keen to bolster his attacking options, with £10million Nice striker Loic Remy and highly-rated Brazil Under-17 international Neymar both reported targets.
German midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger has arrived from Lazio, but newly-promoted West Brom have rejected a second improved bid from the Hammers for Scotland midfielder Graham Dorrans.
McCarthy, though, intends to do all he can to become the main man for the Hammers when they kick off the new Barclays Premier League campaign at Aston Villa on August 14.
He added: "I am very determined and that is why I decided to come back earlier.
"I wanted to make a fresh start - what I couldn't do then, I want to be able to do now."
McCarthy added on the club's official website, www.whufc.com: "The injury is completely fine and the weight is back to normal. I have been following my programme since the end of the season. It is the first time that something like this has happened to me and I need to make sure it doesn't happen again."
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