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Page last updated at 08:06 GMT, Wednesday, 30 July 2008 09:06 UK

Curbishley praises Bellamy graft

Craig Bellamy

Alan Curbishley says Craig Bellamy was "like a new signing" after the West Ham striker's double beat Peterborough United in Tuesday night's friendly.

The Wales captain played nine games for West Ham last term in an injury-ravaged first season at Upton Park blighted by abdominal and groin problems.

Bellamy scored twice in a 2-0 win at Peterborough and boss Curbishley said: "It's terrific to have him back.

"He has worked extremely hard to return to full fitness and is a great asset."

Bellamy endured a nightmare first season in East London following his 7.5m move from Liverpool last summer.

But the fiery forward, who underwent a second abdominal operation in February, returned for Wales during their end-of-season friendly double header.

The 51-times capped Wales star enjoyed cameo performances for his country against both Iceland and The Netherlands.

Bellamy even vowed to sacrifice his summer holidays to embark on a gruelling schedule to regain his fitness for the 2008/09 season and show West Ham "the real Craig Bellamy."

Curbishley appreciates his hard work and following Bellamy's brace against League One new boys Peterborough, the West Ham manager admitted: "Craig has been working hard through the summer to get his fitness back.

606: DEBATE

"He is a little bit further down the line towards full fitness than some of the other lads and it's great for us to have him back - he's like a new signing.

"Dean Ashton played and scored in our game against The Major League all-stars the other day and he was missing against Peterborough.

"Now Craig Bellamy has come back and scored twice - it's terrific for us."

Curbishley hopes his Bellamy and England striker Ashton double-act can fire West Ham into Europe this season.

Both of Bellamy's first-half goals at London Road on Tuesday night were superbly-taken.

He broke the off-side trap to score his first in the third minute as Bellamy sprinted onto Scott Parker's long ball before rounding goalkeeper Joe Lewis to slide home.

Then just before the break, Bellamy raced onto Lucas Neill's long punt up field to chip Lewis and seal a comfortable West Ham win.

West Ham have three remaining friendlies - the next is at Southampton on Friday, 1 August - before their Premier League campaign starts against Wigan Athletic at home on 16 August.


see also
Bellamy buzzing after milestone
29 May 08 |  Internationals
Parry and Bellamy back for Wales
15 May 08 |  Internationals
Injured Bellamy out for six weeks
21 Feb 08 |  West Ham
Bellamy avoids second operation
20 Dec 07 |  West Ham


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