It has been a long, hard road back to fitness for West Ham United striker Andy Carroll.

The 25-year-old striker, who joined the Club on a permanent basis last summer following a successful 2012/13 season spent on loan from Liverpool, was made to wait for his second Hammers' debut by a foot problem.

Having now made his seasonal bow, coming on as a substitute for Carlton Cole with 18 minutes of Saturday's 2-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Cardiff City remaining, the big Geordie is keen to press on.

West Ham take on Carroll's hometown club Newcastle United at the Boleyn Ground next, with the No9 looking to help push the Hammers futher up the table.

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Andy, Saturday was your first appearance of the season due to injury. How frustrating has it been to spend that long on the sidelines?

AC: "It has been a massive nightmare to be honest. I went off to Belgium and then to Holland, to fix it [the injury] but now I am feeling really good and all I want to do is play football.

"I just want to forget about the past months with the injury and just look forward to playing more football for West Ham."

How hard has it been to watch on as the team struggled for form in the first part of the season?

AC: "It has been a bit frustrating, and terrible for us obviously. Coming back I can just forget about all of that and just think about football. I can't stand being on the sidelines. It drives me crazy.

"I tried my best to try and get back to be fit. It was prolonged and I got injured again. So it was disappointing but I am back now so I am concentrating on getting match fit. It was really fantastic to be back out there on Saturday."

You've been at the Club for a year-and-a-half now, so you know more than most about the team spirit here. Was the win on Saturday evidence that the players are committed to turning the season around?

AC: "I just think that the lads have been working hard as ever. We have had our chances and not taken them and it has not run for us. We have to just forget about everything and look forward now.

"I think everyone could see the commitment of the lads, everyone is training hard and you could see the reaction of what the win meant for all of us, the lads on the pitch, those who didn't play and the staff.

"It also showed in that we kept going after Guy [Demel] went off injured and then we were down to ten men when Tonka [James Tomkins] was sent off. But we held it together and got the second goal and the win got us out of the bottom three which was a big boost for us."

Next up is a home game against your old club, Newcastle United. How much are you looking forward to that one?

AC: "Hopefully I get a few more minutes against them and we get a win this Saturday too. Yes of course it is nostalgic for me, it is my home town but I am just looking forward to it really, to play again.

"I am just over the moon about a game coming up as I have been out for too long, so it is fantastic to be back."