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Wilshere nearing West Ham return; Carroll linked with New England

West Ham United v Fulham FC - Premier League

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22: Andy Carroll of West Ham United warms up prior to the Premier League match between West Ham United and Fulham FC at the London Stadium on February 22, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

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Injury-plagued or not, Manuel Pellegrini insists West Ham United must continue to fight for a place in Europe until it becomes mathematically impossible.

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“I always demand more from the players, from myself and from everyone,” Pellegrini said on Thursday. “If you ask if it’s a good season; nine games before the finish we were not fighting against relegation, with an average of five or six players not available. From that point of view, it’s not a bad season.”

Pellegrini visits his former derby rivals Manchester United on Saturday in a must-win if West Ham is to challenge for seventh. The Irons are five points back of that target.

Jack Wilshere is close to returning, with Pellegrini saying the English midfielder has one more U-23 match to go until he dons the senior team kit. Samir Nasri is also out with a muscle injury, while Andriy Yarmolenko and Carlos Sanchez are still a couple of weeks away.

Andy Carroll has undergone ankle surgery. The news of his surgery comes as the injury-plagued striker is linked with a move to Major League Soccer after this summer, with a source telling ProSoccerTalk that New England is a possible landing point for the former Liverpool star.

The 30-year-old has appeared in just 30 matches since the start of the 2017-18 season.

Follow @NicholasMendola