Carroll looks to nail down future as Hammers' fine run continues
Andy Carroll is desperate to get on Manuel Pellegrini's attacking bandwagon and earn himself a new contract.
The former England striker has clocked up just 71 minutes so far under the Chilean and will be a free agent at the end of the season, although the Hammers do have a two-year option to extend.
So much has happened at the London Stadium since Carroll was last selected to start a West Ham game, back on January 2, when he scored both goals in a 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion.
Pellegrini's summer appointment heralded the arrival of £100m worth of new faces, including a goalkeeper and central defensive pairing, plus, in Felipe Anderson, a playmaker on a superb run of form and the scorer of a superb long-range strike that ensured Crystal Palace went home empty-handed.
Their 3-2 win on Saturday, thanks to further goals from Robert Snodgrass and Javier Hernandez, was the Hammers' third in a row and moved them up to 10th place, making the four successive defeats at the start of the campaign seem like ancient history.
Carroll, who missed the first four months of the season because of an ankle problem, marvelled at the club's change of fortunes.
"The manager is very attacking and there are goals in the team," the 29-year-old said. "The two centre-halves we have signed, the goalkeeper, all the way through, I think it is fantastic the team that we have got. The attacking strength is unbelievable."
Pellegrini handed Lucas Perez, another summer signing, a first league start for his new club, but the Hammers, trailing at half-time to James McArthur's goal, were much better when Carroll replaced the Spaniard up front after the break.
Snodgrass netted his first Hammers goal in the league to make it 1-1. Hernandez then put them ahead after Wayne Hennessey had parried an Anderson free-kick, the Brazilian then scoring with a sublime curling effort.
Carroll knows he has a fight on his hands to get in the team even though Marko Arnautovic, first choice up front, is out for a month with a hamstring injury. But this he must do, because £90,000 a week is a lot of money for an impact sub with a long history of injuries.
"My heart is here, my head is here," he said. "It is an easy place for me to stay. I just need to get myself fully fit. As soon as I can, hopefully I can get into the starting line-up, stay there and earn the new deal."
Palace pulled a goal back through substitute Jeffrey Schlupp, but the defeat means Roy Hodgson's side have dropped into the relegation places.