Andy Carroll has started nine Premier League games for West Ham so far this season. And in those matches the big striker has found the net six times. That’s a superb return from the Hammers ace; one which he is in contention to add to when Slaven Bilic’s men host league leaders Chelsea – if he can win his battle back to fitness.

So far, so good for the former Newcastle and Liverpool frontman. He has returned to training ahead of the London Stadium showdown on Monday and now must prove he is ready to go in search of more goals against Antonio Conte’s runaway top flight title favourites.

Carroll, said to be in the running for a call-up by England boss Gareth Southgate for games later this month, has been out of action with a groin injury. And the need of West Ham to get him back in shape is even greater given that Michail Antonio is banned for the Blues’ visit.

Clearly upbeat at the progress made by Carroll, the club tweeted a picture of him at training with the message: “The Big Man is back in training! @AndyTCarroll prepares for the @premierleague leaders.”

Whether or not Carroll makes the starting line-up, Chelsea are in for a tough task ahead. That’s according to Steve Clarke, former coach at north the Blues and Upton Park.

Clarke points out that Chelsea have already lost at the London Stadium with a 2-1 defeat in the EFL Cup earlier this campaign. And the Scot believes the Hammers are entitled to go into the encounter in buoyant mood given that Bilic’s troops have lost just once in their past six Premier League games following a miserable start to the season.

He said: “I think it’ll be a difficult game for Chelsea. Having worked at West Ham, I know how much the people at the club like to beat Chelsea. I know the supporters really enjoy it. West Ham went through a tough spell earlier on in the season but they seem to have come through that.

“They’ve got a little more confidence, a bit more swagger about them, the results have picked up at the London Stadium. And I do think it’ll be a difficult night for Chelsea. Looking at the strength of Chelsea, I think everyone’s looking at them and thinking how to beat this team or how to suss them out.”

That said, Clarke makes note of the impressive form that has rocketed the Stamford Bridge outfit to the top of the table and believes they can take the spoils if they hit form.

For West Ham and their supporters, a fit Andy Carroll causing mayhem in the Chelsea box come Monday night will be a very welcome sight indeed.