A confident Carlton Cole is feeling at home at West Ham United and ready to fire in 2009/10.

The England forward was in superb form last season, scoring 12 goals and becoming an integral part of Gianfranco Zola's team.

After coming through the ranks at Chelsea - where he was part of Hammers first-team coach Steve Clarke's youth team - Cole spent time on loan at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Chartton Athletic and Aston Villa before joining West Ham on a permanent basis three years ago this week in 2006.

Having recently become a father for the first time, Cole is settled both at home and at work. "I've just had a baby and that was a massive wake up call for me to start taking my football seriously. The manager came in at the right time to help me take it to the next level.

"On loan you are never really going to settle. It works for some players but I'm a home boy and I need to not be on the road or in a hotel. For you to get the best out of me I've got to be settled. That was one of the reasons I wasn't progressing as fast as I wanted to. I was playing England Under-21 football and I was doing well for the Under-21s and I was settled there but at club level I wasn't.

"I'm just happy I've found my home now and West Ham has done a lot for me."

The 25-year-old admitted the arrival of Zola and Clarke in September had given him a huge confidence boost.

Cole turned that confidence into a string of impressive performances, earning him his first two England caps earlier this year. He is aiming to take his game to even greater heights when he returns to training at Chadwell Heath with his fellow internationals this weekend.

"They've brought a lot of confidence to the team," said Cole. "It's brilliant. It reminds me of playing in the youth club under Steve at Chelsea, where I used to score week-in, week-out. I think I scored 38 or 39 goals in all and I think I've got the record there still.

"It was just a great year for me that year and I'd like to think those years are coming back now. I'm getting used to scoring and keeping my performance at a high level consistently. You have to be consistent about your football and not have a good game one week and then a bad one the next. You need to get out there and get that form and consistency regularly."

The powerful striker believes the managerial influence of Zola and Clarke has also rubbed off on his young team-mates, with the likes of James Tomkins and Junior Stanislas establishing themselves in the first team last term.

"We've got a lot of youth players coming through," said Cole. "James Tomkins, Junior Stanislas and Freddie Sears broke through last year, while Zavon Hines and Bondz N'Gala also broke through [into the first-team squad] . So you've got good, young players trying to break through to the first team that will push the players that are already there and established to kick on more or else the kids are going to take their places.

"This is the confidence that the manager has bought to the young players as well, to get them to believe in themselves to get to the right level of playing."