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Injury Report: Three points could come down to fitness

As West Ham United prepare to meet Swansea City, we take a look at the current injury situation

Swansea City v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

So Andy Carroll WILL be involved in the Swansea game after all!

Reports after the Arsenal match in midweek were contradictory with regards to whether Andy Carroll will play against Swansea this weekend, but it looks as though he'll be on the field for the greater part of the match at least.

By all accounts Andy reported that against Arsenal he was feeling some discomfort in the groin that was more than likely related to his previous injury. Although reports indicated that the medical team were satisfied that no further damage had been done at that stage, Andy himself wasn't too happy to continue and Slaven Bilić took the decision to bring him off as a precaution.

It has since been reported that the big striker feels that three full games a week are going to be too much for him at this stage. Therefore against Swansea City, Andy will either lead the attack from the beginning or join in the fray at a later stage of the game.

When someone has been in and out of the action as much as Andy has this season, this is a sensible approach to take. Just as there are no hard and fast rules to say that players returning from injury can only come on for the last half hour of a game, neither are there any rules to say that they have to play every possible minute either.

Arsenal v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images,

These thoughts have been borne out by reports in recent weeks over Diafra Sakho which have stressed that he too needs to ensure that he's at peak fitness before returning to the team. As luck would have it, Diafra actually came on for Andy on Wednesday against Arsenal!

The danger here, though, is that once a player returns to the squad then there's nothing to say that he won't be used for the whole ninety minutes.

Often, just taking a place on the bench can lead to an unexpected appearance. On-the-field needs can be dictated by circumstances and the mere fact that you are on the bench at all indicates a willingness to compete and managers / coaches don't always allow for the fact that returning to fitness can often be a slow process.

In the situation that West Ham currently find themselves in, Slaven Bilić is going to use every possible option to ensure that they have the best chance possible of picking up enough points to ensure safety in the division.

Having to fight for Premiership survival is not the type of scenario that everyone envisaged only a few weeks ago, but that - as they say- is football and the picture is constantly changing.

Slaven himself has even spoken earlier this week about the effect that the present situation is having on him personally and it's not nice. The pressure is relentless and comes home with you at the end of the day. Often, there is no respite and this spills over into your personal life.

As a highly-committed manager Slaven will be giving everything to the club and it's easy to see why he loses his cool at the side of the pitch. Managers and coaches at that level expect everyone involved to show the same commitment; and behind the scenes that's often where the relationship with players can break down.

Watford v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Players and managers / coaches are notorious for seeing things from different perspectives and that can lead to tension; especially when things aren't going well on the field.

Slaven does, however, explain his decisions which is a big help. Many Hammers supporters were unaware of the situation on Wednesday night leading to Andy Carroll's substitution but the explanation offerred afterwards by Slaven cleared everything up.

The fact that Andy felt that three games a week was just too much at this stage might be difficult for many people to accept but is easy to understand.

After injury, regaining specific fitness is every bit as important as recovering from the actual injury and this can be an area where the time scales in football sometimes don't allow for adequate preparation if a player has been out for a while.

Demands are made for a return almost as soon as a player resumes full training and often they're not ready for it.

On a brighter note, Michail Antonio is also expected to be involved against Swansea. For the Arsenal game the other night, a stomach upset was named as the cause of his omission from the team for the Arsenal game; but hopefully this will now have passed.

Meanwhile, those players out with longer-term injuries, Angelo Ogbonna and Gökhan Töre, continue to train and rehab in London and Istanbul respectively as per their normal routine; and there will be more about them next week. Winston Reid (abductor), Aaron Cresswell (contusion) and Pedro Obiang (ankle) also remain unavailable.

Although the injury list at West Ham United is not too long at the moment, the potential always exists for this to increase - especially with the Easter schedule approaching!