By Harry Sykes
Karren Brady has accused Andy Carroll of being fragile in a massive dig at his susceptibility to injury.
The West Ham vice-chairman claimed in her weekly newspaper column that she wished the 28-year-old had some of the sturdiness of his teammate Michail Antonio.
Carroll is on course to make his West Ham comeback against Chelsea on Monday following his latest spell on the sidelines.
The striker, whose four years at the east London club have been ravaged by injury, has missed the last two matches with a groin problem sustained in the club’s win at Southampton on 4 February.
“Antonio replaced Andy Carroll as leader of the line and it is a prayer of mine that Carroll should stop straining his groin or anything else and acquire some of his team-mate’s seeming immunity to injury,” said Brady in her Sun column.
Carroll has been a major influence for West Ham when he has played this season, with six goals in 16 appearances, 12 of which have been starts, and all of his strikes have come in Premier League fixtures.
Intriguingly, Brady’s no-hold-barred comments about the former England international come in a week in which there were reports he was in negotiations with three Chinese Super League clubs to make a mega-money transfer before the window shut on Tuesday.
It appears the West Ham hierarchy are ready to cash in on Carroll, although his return will be welcomed against league leaders Chelsea for Monday’s match.
Good morning everybody. Andy Carroll is fit and training with the first team squad and should be available for selection against Chelsea. dg pic.twitter.com/MPJozGE0HC
— David Gold (@davidgold) March 2, 2017
Manager Slaven Bilic will be unable to call upon the versatile Antonio, who is suspended for the London derby after being sent off late on against Watford last weekend.
Antonio has been the Hammers’ outstanding player this season, starting 25 of their 26 league matches and scoring eight goals.
In other West Ham transfer news, they are set to battle over a defensive wonderkid.