West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has today given West Ham fans some optimism that Andy Carroll could return sooner than expected.

The striker suffered a setback in his rehabilitation after he picked up the injury on the final day of last season, and it was feared that he might not play again this season.

However Allardyce has quashed those initial worries and he told Sky Sports News: "It is certainly not as serious as last time.

"That is the one encouraging thing but hugely, hugely disappointing for him and for us.

"Unfortunately for us the specialist said there was a five per cent chance it may break down again and Andy is one of those five per cent unfortunately.

"What we have to do is make sure we treat him in the right manner as quickly as we possibly can again and get it right as quickly as we can."

Despite the more promising prognosis, Allardyce did admit that it was "devastating for Andy and for ourselves."

He added: "It's not frustrating, it's devastating, because we have gone through the process of 16 weeks to go along with the specialist reports on how we deal with the rehab when Andy is recovered from this injury."

The injury to Carroll, who joined on a permanent deal after a successful loan spell, means the Hammers are still short in the striker department, although their options have been boosted by the arrival of Mladen Petric on a free transfer.

West Ham will be hoping that their lack of goalscorers won't hinder them when they travel to face Southampton on Sunday, following a mixed start to their Premier League campaign.

Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/130seMa

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms