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Spain ace Tristram in Hammers trial

PUBLISHED: 14:47 02 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:40 05 October 2010

By JONATHAN CLEGG WEST HAM have handed a trial to former Spain hitman Diego Tristan after the club were rocked by the news that leading striker Dean Ashton will miss the majority of the season with an ankle injury. Ashton was injured in new manager Gianf

By JONATHAN CLEGG

WEST HAM have handed a trial to former Spain hitman Diego Tristan after the club were rocked by the news that leading striker Dean Ashton will miss the majority of the season with an ankle injury.

Ashton was injured in new manager Gianfranco Zola's first training session last month and early reports suggested the forward would be sidelined for just six weeks.

But the Hammers were left reeling this week after learning that Ashton is unlikely to return to action before March at the earliest following surgery on his left ankle on Tuesday.

West Ham boss Zola has responded to Ashton's latest setback by bringing Tristan to Upton Park for a week's trial, with a view to signing the 32-year-old on a short-term deal.

Tristan was one of Europe's most feared marksmen during a six-year spell at Deportivo La Coruna, scoring 77 goals in 179 appearances and earning 15 caps for Spain.

He has struggled for form since his release by Deportivo in 2006 and is currently a free agent following a year-long stint at Livorno, who were relegated from Serie A last season. Tristan scored one goal in 20 matches for the Italian side.

He has been linked with a number of European clubs since the summer but arrived at Upton Park on Tuesday as Zola looks to strengthen his attacking options following Ashton's setback.

The West Ham boss will make a decision on Tristan's future this week and the forward is optimistic he can convince Zola that he is capable of making an impact in England.

"Zola called me and told me his plans and the situation with the team. I have come to prove myself and we will see how everything goes," said Tristan.

"My first impression is positive but it doesn't just depend on me. I will be training until Saturday, then we will talk and take a firm decision.

"I still believe I have a role in football. In Italy with Livorno I proved that I have still got plenty of gas left in the tank and I am currently working with a personal trainer.

"I've had offers this summer from clubs in Europe but I haven't been able to finalise anything.

"At this moment it is not a question of money but seeing if I can be useful to West Ham.

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