Slaven Bilic is worried injuries could scupper Andy Carroll's hopes of an England recall after revealing the West Ham forward is a doubt to face Watford.
West Ham have returned from a training stint in Dubai with in-form Carroll still struggling due to a groin injury that could sideline him for Saturday's match at Vicarage Road.
The former Liverpool striker, 28, has not played for England since 2012, but is targeting a recall having scored four times in as many Premier League appearances.
Bilic, though, has told Carroll that persistent fitness issues could prevent him from winning favour with England boss Gareth Southgate.
"When he is fit and playing Andy is a top striker," said Bilic.
"This is not a big injury, but he needs to play, he needs to be available.
"I told him in Dubai that the small things that are ruining, or affecting, his return, are no good for him, for us, or for a call-up.
"A similar thing happened last year, he was great at the beginning of the year, against Southampton and Liverpool he slaughtered them, but then he got injured and was out for a few weeks."
SB: "We are a different team from the one who last faced . We had so many players injured but we are in a much better shape now.February 23, 2017
Bilic added: "He was in the squad and went to Dubai, but unfortunately this injury is a little bit slower than we expected and hoped for.
"Regarding the game against Watford, he will try to train and if he is good then maybe he has a chance to be in the squad for Saturday.
"With Andy you never know, if he can train tomorrow then maybe, maybe, he will be in the squad for Saturday. It will be great if he will be available, but if not then definitely Chelsea.
"The guys had a good trip to Dubai and we worked hard. We trained more than if we had stayed here and it was good for team bonding."
West Ham sit 10th in the table having picked up 10 points from their last five games.
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