Noble keeps fingers crossed over Carroll fitness

Britain Football Soccer - Southampton v West Ham United - Premier League - St Mary's Stadium - 4/2/17 West Ham United's Andy Carroll celebrates scoring their first goal Reuters / Dylan Martinez Livepic

(Reuters) - West Ham United captain Mark Noble hopes striker Andy Carroll will prove his fitness in time for Monday's Premier League London derby against leaders Chelsea at the London Stadium.

Carroll, who has scored four goals in his last four games, missed last month's league draws against West Bromwich Albion and Watford with a groin injury but has returned to full training and is expected to make the squad.

"Andy is massive for us whenever he is fit and everyone knows it. He was fit for 11 matches over Christmas and New Year and scored six goals, so we need to keep him available," Noble told the club's website.

"Andy knows how important he is to our team and he hates not being involved with the lads on the training pitch. Having a fit Andy Carroll is a massive boost for us."

West Ham, in ninth, face a formidable Chelsea side who are well on course for the title with a 10-point lead at the top of the standings.

"They've taken this league by storm... we have to be at our best and, if they're not quite on it, we can get a result. We know it's going to be a tough game, but we're playing well at the moment and we can prove something," Noble added.

(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)