Sam Allardyce has challenged his West Ham squad to show they are not just "all about Andy Carroll".
Carroll, 23, striker likely to be injured until October 6, a team that had seemed perfectly set up for his physical game now looks a little more toothless.
There was a stark difference between West Ham's last display, a 0-0 draw at Norwich, and the 3-0 win over Fulham on September 1 in which the England striker suffered a hamstring injury. Now, Allardyce expects more from his stand-in strikers.
He said: "It depends on the likes of Carlton Cole and Modibo Maiga stepping in and doing the business, making sure we use the strength of the squad when we need to.
"We have only got two players injured at the moment, a lot of other teams in the Premier League have more. If that continues it will help for us to be more and more consistent.
"Andy Carroll has only played 68 minutes for us. We have only conceded just three goals, all at Swansea, and kept clean sheets in the other games.
"It is not all about Andy, but it is about us trying to perform as a team again on Saturday against Sunderland and winning that game."
Allardyce hopes Carroll will be able to rejoin the rest of the squad soon enough.
"Andy is improving day by day," he added. "He has started some light training now and we continue to try to monitor it day by day and see when he's going to be available and ready to join back in with the players."
Meanwhile, Allardyce praised the very striker his team will face on Saturday, Sunderland's Steven Fletcher.
He said: "It's a great move for him and he's already rewarded Sunderland by being the goalscorer he ended up being at Wolves at the end.
"So, from moving down from Scotland to Birmingham in one season and getting relegated to Wolves and getting relegated again, having the opportunity to go to Sunderland and score goals on a regular basis, it's what every manager is looking for in the Premier League. And, obviously, the [£12m fee] hasn't affected him and looks like a great bit of business."