The Sunday Express carries a report this morning that Fulham are one of three sides ready to end Dean Ashton’s injury-hit spell at West Ham.

If Roy Hodgson is really in for the tall striker – and I have my doubts given that he has publicly declared his interest in Peter Crouch now (and revealed that Bobby Zamora won’t be joining Hull) – he will face competition from Stoke and Hull. It seems that Ashton could be in line for a move having dropped down Gianfranco Zola’s pecking order. The Hammers boss has already signed teenage striker Frank Nouble and is expected to complete a deal for his fomer team-mate Eidur Gudjohnsen soon.

Ashton, who remarkably has yet to play for Zola in the Italian’s time at Upton Park, joined West Ham from Norwich for an initial fee of £7m in January 2006. He made an immediate impact with the Hammers, scoring twice in their FA Cup quarter final win over Manchester City, and again in the thrilling final against Liverpool. Ashton missed out on selection for the 2006 World Cup squad but was included in the squad for Steve McClaren’s first game – a friendly against Greece at Old Trafford – only to break his ankle on the eve of the game.

That injury kept him out for the whole of the 2006-07 season but returned to play a big part in the following campaign, scoring 11 goals in 35 games. Having signed a new five year deal last summer, Ashton began the new season well – scoring twice against Wigan – but he injured his ankle again in Zola’s first training session. He has scored 19 goals in 56 appearances for West Ham.