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Hammers striker Ashton to go under the knife

Injury-jinxed West Ham United striker Dean Ashton faces a month on the sidelines after it was confirmed he requires an ankle operation.- The 24-year-old suffered the injury in training and missed the 3-1 win over Newcastle on Saturday as well as the Carling Cup defeat to Watford.

The club hoped rest would cure the problem but the England international will go under the knife next week and early indications are that he could be out until the end of October.

That would make Ashton unavailable for five Premier League fixtures - starting at Fulham on Saturday - and England's World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Belarus.

The club said: "Dean Ashton will undergo arthroscopic surgery to his left ankle next week to help assess the extent of his injury."

Since joining the Hammers from Norwich City in January 2006 the injury plagued striker has been sidelined for 60 matches and new West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola is yet to see Ashton play.

With fellow striker Carlton cole arrested for drink driving this week and Craig Bellamy battling to recover from a groin injury Zola has a few problems with his strike force.

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