Having made his loan move to West Ham permanent, Andy Carroll has the chance to put his £35m millstone move from Newcastle to Liverpool behind him and there’s every reason to think he can deliver for Irons fans who have availed themselves of the 13/20 about him notching over 10.5 Premier League goals this term.
Two dour seasons may have passed since the beanpole striker bagged double-digit league goal hauls in consecutive campaigns for Newcastle, but there have been excuses for his moderate output.
2011/12 was his annus horribilis at Anfield, in which 35 starts yielded just four Premier League goals, but he was playing in a side that – under the haphazard stewardship of an out of touch Kenny Dalglish – equalled the club’s worst finish since they returned to the top flight in 1962/63.
Last term – once farmed out on loan to the Upton Park in a move he initially resisted – he took time to re-establish that all-important keepsake of prolific strikers, confidence. Then, just when he began to look like he was once again packing the menace of his finest hours in the black and white of his hometown side, injury intervened.
He returned from the sickbay at the end of January and set about proving Sam Allardyce’s faith in the one-time geordie messiah hadn’t been misguided.
The history books will bear witness to the fact that Carroll scored all seven of his 2012/13 league goals in the 14 games played after January the 30th.
This was some achievement in a Hammers team geared up to be hard to beat, amongst which the striker himself shared top-assister status with Joey O’Brien and Ricardo Vaz Te.
Although he faces a race against time to shake off a heel injury ahead of West Ham’s curtain-raising clash with Cardiff City – for which his colleagues can be backed at 19/20 – he should be able to easily surpass the 10.5 goal mark for West Ham in 2013/14 if he starts week-in-week-out.
Carroll is reportedly moving heaven and earth in an attempt to be fit to kick off the campaign in front of his home fans and the Hammers’ superb record at the Boleyn Ground adds extra weight to his chances of clearing the 10.5 with the ease of a 6’3” Dick Fosbury.
West Ham lost just four games in front of their own support following their return to the Premier League last season and their home goals tally was only bettered by the four sides who will represent the division on Champions League duty during the current campaign.