Dean Ashton is backing West Ham United to maintain their recent run of form and achieve Barclays Premier League safety.

The former Hammers and England striker was back at the Boleyn Ground to watch West Ham overcome another of his former clubs, Norwich City, in midweek.

During his visit, Ashton spoke to West Ham TV about a wide range of subjects, including the relegation battle, Andy Carroll's England chances and his own media career.

Dean, what have you made of West Ham's recent run of 13 points from 18 that has lifted them away from the bottom three?

DA:  "West Ham are on a very good run of form. Kevin Nolan has come back into the goals with a couple of braces and it always helps when you have a player like him in the team who can come into the team and get goals. A lot has to be said about the defensive unit as well because they have been absolutely outstanding. Adrian has come in and been outstanding, as have James Collins and James Tomkins."

West Ham have been without Andy Carroll in their wins over Aston Villa and Norwich, which shows they can win with or without him. That's encouraging?

DA: "After what happened with the red card and everything that went with it, I think people probably thought that West Ham would have gone to Villa and got beaten, but they went there and put in a great performance. Kevin Nolan can score goals with or without Andy Carroll. It's easier when Andy is playing, because he can feed off the knockdowns, but he showed he is a quality finisher at this level with or without Andy."

Sam Allardyce said during our early-season injury crisis that he should only be judged when he had his full squad available. Has the recent run proved him right?

DA: "I have been saying in interviews that you could not really judge Sam until he had his best players back. Any team, like Manchester United this season, when they have been without Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, they are not the same side. West Ham had four or five of their best players not playing for quite a while. Anyone would miss that. It's been proven that now they are back and results are starting to pick up and I could see why Sam was complaining about the injury side of it. It was a fact that his best players were injured."

Can West Ham stay away from the bottom three now?

DA: "I can see maybe two or three teams getting out of the relegation battle, but I can see there being a good seven or eight teams being in it right until the end. Obviously, for someone who isn't playing or a fan, it's brilliant to watch. Obviously for the fans of those teams, it will be difficult for them, and I think the next month or so will be really important to see if any of those teams can get away from the pack and ease their problems."

When he returns from suspension, can Andy Carroll force his way into England's 2014 FIFA World Cup squad?

DA: "He's different to everyone else and that's what he's got in his favour. He's unplayable at times. He's 6'5" but he's got a great leap as well and he's competitive. I'd hate to play against him if I was a centre-half and I know centre-halves hate playing against him. I'm gutted for him because, after coming back from a long injury, all you want to do is play and now he's out for three games but he's not injured. I'm sure he'll be champing at the bit when he does get back. I'm pretty sure, if he can put a run of games together, he can get in the England squad.

You may have retired in 2009, but you still get a great reception from West Ham fans, don't you?

DA: "They have always ben superb with me. It's a real shame I didn't get to show more of my talents, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Since I have finished, I always get their support and it's unbelievable. It's the same with the Norwich fans and I just want to see both teams stay up, really."

Finally, how is your media career going? You appear to enjoy your role as a commentator and summariser on TV and radio?

DA: "I mainly work in the media side of things now, commentating. I've tried a bit of coaching but I'm not quite ready for that. I enjoy the commentating and want to be as close to the action as I can be, without the same pressures as playing. You're always looking for that edge and to give an insight to people watching and listening into something they wouldn't know. Being a player, I have the insight from inside the lines, which the likes of Gary Neville are doing. You've got to be as honest as you can be, because that's the nature of the job."