West Ham's Jack Collison has "a new lease of life" after going out on loan - and is now relishing Andy Carroll's return.
The Wales international midfielder made his 100th league appearance for the Hammers last weekend, and played 90 minutes in midweek as Sam Allardyce's won 2-1 at Tottenham to reach the Capital One Cup semi-finals.
In October, Collison was sent out on loan to Championship side Bournemouth for a month by Allardyce, in a bid to get a run of games under his belt. The 25-year-old, who has suffered serious knee problems in the past, made four 90-minutes appearances for the Cherries and returned back raring to go again.
"I jumped at the chance and it was great to get some games," Collison told The Sun.
"I have come back a lot fitter and sharper and ready to get back into the team here.
"I felt I'd hit a bit of a brick wall at West Ham. I wasn't really anywhere near the team. I just don't want to sit here and pick up my dough.
"To play four games back to back is something I had not done for a long time.
"It did me the world of good. It has given me a new lease of life. I have come back determined to win back a place in the team."
Also looking to return to the Hammers side soon is £19million striker Carroll, who is back in light training after fracturing his foot.
Collison hopes the England international can be involved in the two-legged cup semi-final against Manchester City.
"Andy looks as though he is not too far away and his return will be a massive boost for everyone," added Collison.
"He's taken a bit of stick for growing a beard but fair play to him for getting himself back after what he has been through.
"The semi-finals of the Capital One Cup would be nice games for him to come back into.
"I've experienced what it's like to have a tough, long-term injury and what it takes to get back.
"Andy has worked morning, noon and night to get back training again. We don't want to put pressure on him but he's a fantastic talent and he will make a massive difference to our team."
Collison says all the Hammers squad have rallied around Carroll as he has gradually battled back from injury.
"We are a very close group of lads and we've all been there to help pick Andy up when he has needed it in his dark days," said Collison.
"He knows I've been through it so we've had a few chats. I think he just knows he is going to come back and start scoring goals again.
"You only have to watch him back out there on the pitch in training, you can see the hunger and desire in his eyes.
"He's been a massive miss for us and looks determined to make up for lost time."