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Allardyce: West Ham star can keep Liverpool loanee Carroll benched

West Ham's Carlton Cole in action against Liverpool. Photo: Stephen Pond/EMPICS Sport West Ham's Carlton Cole in action against Liverpool. Photo: Stephen Pond/EMPICS Sport

Saturday, December 15, 2012
9:00 AM

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce says injured Liverpool loanee Andy Carroll could struggle to win back his place in the team if Carlton Cole’s good run of form continues.

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England striker Carroll was sidelined by a hamstring injury earlier in the season and is now nursing a serious knee problem which could see him miss a further six weeks of action.

With Carroll absent from West Ham’s 3-1 win against Chelsea and their 3-2 defeat to Liverpool last Sunday, Cole filled in up front to great effect, scoring against the Blues and proving a menace against Brendan Rodgers’ side.

The 29-year-old will lead the line again when the Hammers face West Brom at the Hawthorns on Sunday.

Allardyce has praised Cole for making the most of his opportunities and sees no reason why he can’t keep his place in the team.

“Fantastic two performances against Liverpool and Chelsea,” said the Hammers boss of Cole’s recent form. “He’s contributed well.

“He came in and played really well when Andy got his hamstring [injury] as well, you can’t forget that.

“He’s not played quite as much as he wanted but when he’s got the opportunity he’s done the business.

“We need him to continue that because Andy is out for a number of weeks so he can establish himself in the team and he can keep his place if he wants, if he continues playing like that.

“It will be Andy’s problem to get back in if Carlton continues to play as well as he’s playing and scoring goals, so let’s hope he can continue to do that.

“If and when Andy gets back and [Cole] is playing that well it will be nearly impossible to leave him out.”

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