West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic has told Sky Sports that he wants to be patient over the fitness of striker Andy Carroll.
Carroll, 26, has seen his Hammers career blighted by a number of major injuries ever since making his move from Liverpool permanent in 2013, and he has been sidelined since February after sustaining an injury against Southampton.
On Tuesday, Carroll returned to the West Ham side, playing 63 minutes as the Hammers were beaten 2-1 in extra time by Leicester City, knocking them out of the Capital One Cup.
This weekend, the Hammers take on Norwich City at Upton Park, but Carroll's participation is up in the air after that game against Leicester.
Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of the clash with Norwich, manager Bilic said that he wants to be patient with Carroll's recovery - but admitted that the only way the gangly striker will get back to match sharpness is by playing in games, so a balance is required.
"Andy couldn't do more in training," Bilic said. "After seven months out, these things take time. We have to be patient and we don't want to rush him. Having said that, he can only regain that edge by playing games, so we have to find the right balance," he added.
Gew players in the Premier League can match Carroll's remarkable ability in the air, and the former Newcastle star would certainly be a welcome addition to the West Ham attack when he is fully fit.
So far, Carroll hasn't lived up to the hype from his Newcastle days, but his regular injuries have been a large reason for that - and hopefully, he can now get back to playing regularly, with Bilic taking the cautious option with his fitness.