West Ham manager Alan Curbishley has again dismissed suggestions of a rift with star striker Dean Ashton after the England player was relegated to the substitutes bench against Manchester United and Arsenal.Ashton had started the previous five matches for the Hammers but Curbishley opted to rest him for the victory over United last weekend and the subsequent defeat at the hands of the Gunners on New Year's Day. The striker has been frustrated with the lack of first team chances and was said to be unhappy at being left out of the starting line-up for the last two games. Talks about a new contract appear to have stalled but Curbishley is adamant there is not a problem between the pair. 'I wouldn't mind clearing up the situation concerning Dean,' he said. 'We've played the top four teams, we played 4-5-1 at Chelsea, kept it tight and were unlucky not to get something from the game. 'We went 4-5-1 against Manchester United and away at Arsenal and Carlton Cole is suited best to the lone striker's role - there's a lot or work to be done when you're playing that role. 'I think we've eased Dean in properly at the start of the season and we're doing it again now. 'Obviously people want to play every game but he played three and a half games, nearly four games, on the spin over the Christmas period. 'I changed it for the Manchester United game and perhaps had we not been playing another top-four team I might have changed it around a bit. 'But he's had a good rest and hopefully he'll come into training nice and fresh and looking forward to the weekend's game against Manchester City. 'It's all right playing against the best teams but when you play them you have to do certain things tactically and I thought we did it the best way. 'I spoke to Dean before the Manchester United game and he understood it, he probably felt a bit tired anyway and I explained what we were trying to do. 'After the result against Manchester United everyone knew I was going to go to Arsenal and play in the same way, my big problem was that I didn't have the same personnel who would be comfortable doing that. 'There are no problems, we want to get the results and then we'll worry about individuals.' Curbishley has 14 players in the treatment room but is not expecting to splash out on new arrivals during the transfer window. He added: 'If everyone is fit we have a big squad here and, hopefully, most of them will be back soon. 'Things could change if the position gets more acute but I don't envisage us doing much, if anything, during this month.' Curbishley will lose John Pantsil and Henri Camara to the African Nations' Cup after the weekend and may look to take a striker on loan but, apart from that, he will stick with the squad he has. Winger Matthew Etherington and midfielder Lee Bowyer could return for the FA Cup third round home clash against City and others are getting closer to full fitness as well. 'We have a reserve team game next Monday and I'm hoping that players such as Julien Faubert, Luis Boa Morte and Calum Davenport will be fit to play in that,' added Curbishley.