Sam Allardyce has tipped Andy Carroll to continue his sensational run of form after his matchwinning performance against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
The imposing striker had arguably his finest 90 minutes for West Ham United since joining on loan from Liverpool last August, grabbing the first and last goals in a 3-1 win. Although Carroll will be forced to miss the meeting with his parent club on Sunday due to the detail of his loan deal, his manager believes the quick succession of games to follow will provide a platform for the 24-year-old to add to his five goals so far this season.
"His confidence will be sky high now he's started to score goals and that was his first brace for us," Allardyce said. "I think it will kick him on from here. It will fill him with great confidence and when the next chance comes along he'll take it like he did his second goal, without thinking about it.
"He made it look so easy. The whole place, instead of erupting, had a moment of silence because they couldn't believe how good that goal was - and then they erupted into huge applause."
Indeed the brace demonstrated Carroll's full range of offensive capabilities. The first was a trademark powering header from a Gary O'Neil corner, for which there was ever only going to be one winner, and the second was a stunning right-footed volley from James Collins' lobbed free-kick.
"It will be great for his confidence. It's not just the headed goal, it's the volley. He's shown everybody his ability in its full light and his capabilities of a footballer on the deck. He's got really good feet for a big lad and really good change of direction.
"He can be as good as he wants to be. I can always make anybody better if they want to get better. It's my job to support what anybody wants to do if they want to dedicate themselves to the game. I'll be there for them for as long and as needy as they want to be.
"Everybody's dedication determines how good they want to be, we just provide the service to produce the best of the ability that they've got."
Carroll has endured something of a stop-start beginning to his West Ham United career after early hamstring and knee injuries, but his return to form in recent weeks has coincided with an upturn in the Hammers' results. After starting the last six fixtures, Carroll has now enjoyed his most settled run of games since he arrived in east London, and Big Sam says he can see his sharpness improving with every game.
"The first thing was we had to wait a long time to get him here. That wasn't able to be done because of the negotiations that continued to be back and forth, back and forth. Finally we clinched it but we missed a long time that he could have been with us.
"Then, with his performance on his first game, I was looking to get him off and just about to bring Carlton Cole on and he pulls a hamstring. So he missed a few games. Then he came back and did his knee ligament and missed some more games.
"It was a real stop-start season. But now we're seeing him game after game after game - and we're seeing the result of that match fitness. It doesn't matter what you try and do in training. Games give you that little extra. The match fitness gives you that little extra bit of ability, of sharpness that we know he's got, and he's showing that now."
With just six first-team games during February and March, the West Ham United squad have had to remain professional and concentrate on some hard work on the Chadwell Heath training pitches to keep their fitness levels up. Their determination and focus was rewarded as Saturday's meeting with the Baggies unfolded, and with no-one more so than Carroll.
"It's about the games and staying fit in training. We've had to train the players hard this month because we've only had three games. We'd had our break in Dubai before the start of this month. We got dealt the blow of not having the Manchester United game because of the cup so we were only faced with three games this month.
"So we've had mini pre-seasons over the last few weeks because the lads haven't had the games we wanted. I think as we've moved on, everyone has picked up the level of fitness again as we would expect this time of year. We don't expect our players to produce less physical performances, we expect them to produce more."
Carroll is likely to start again in the Hammers' next home game, against table toppers Manchester United, on Wednesday 17 April. Limited tickets remain, click below to get yours.