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Ashton back in time for City game

PUBLISHED: 11:38 21 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:33 05 October 2010

By JONATHAN CLEGG DEAN Ashton has been passed fit for West Ham s trip to Manchester City this weekend despite limping out of the club s opening day win over Wigan. Ashton scored twice in the first 10 minutes at Upton Park but left the action in the 72nd

By JONATHAN CLEGG

DEAN Ashton has been passed fit for West Ham's trip to Manchester City this weekend despite limping out of the club's opening day win over Wigan.

Ashton scored twice in the first 10 minutes at Upton Park but left the action in the 72nd minute with a suspected calf injury.

But the 24-year-old striker has allayed fears of a prolonged spell on the sidelines after scans this week revealed the issue was nothing more serious than cramp.

He is now expected to keep his place for the Hammers' visit to Eastlands on Sunday.

"It was just cramp. I am really glad that it's not a bad injury. I am looking forward to joining in training and getting on with playing," said Ashton.

"Overall, I'm really pleased with how pre-season has gone for me and then to get off to a good start in the first game."

Ashton's match-winning double against Wigan means he has hit seven goals in his last nine Premier League matches.

The former Norwich forward attributes his remarkable form to an improvement in his fitness and finally shaking off the effects of an ankle injury that ruled him out of action for over a year.

He said: "I felt like I ended last season well and that I was getting into my stride. When things are going like that, you don't want the season to end but I feel like I have kept that going. I feel fit and I feel strong.

"This is the first time I've started a season with nothing holding me back. I came back last season after a long time out so I was concerned about how I would come back from my injury. This time I'm in control without any worries."

Hammers boss Alan Curbishley heaped praise on the England international, who was forced to miss out on last night's friendly against the Czech Republic while scans determined the extent of his calf problem.

"I don't think I've seen a finisher who strikes the ball as hard and he normally hits the target. When you've been out a year it can take a bit longer to get back but hopefully this year he can push on," Curbishley said.

"He's been criticised a little unfairly [for his weight] but he's worked hard at it this summer. He's got so much ability, he brings other people into the game and is a very good finisher.

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