West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola admits he is concerned over Dean Ashton's future following the striker's year on the sidelines with an ankle injury.
Ashton, 25, broke his left ankle in 2006 before aggravating the problem last September - and he is still training on his own.
Zola: "The problem he had was quite serious, it was more serious than anybody thought.
"It has been one year and obviously I am getting concerned about it.
"I can't say 'I'll give you three months', I can't force his progress along. But I do respect his willingness to come back and I am going to be supportive to him, not the one who is pushing him.
"He is one of the players that I have had a lot of hopes for.
"I have been waiting one year and I have not had him.
"According to everyone, including myself, he was one of the best players of the team. He made my job much more difficult.
"I am very sorry for the boy and I imagine what he is going through and that he is suffering a lot. All my thoughts are with him. I wish that he will find his way forward as soon as possible."