Carlton Cole is pleased to see everyone putting in the hard work during pre-season as West Ham United get ready for the new Barclays Premier League campaign ahead.

The Hammers ran out 2-1 winners against Colchester United on Saturday thanks to Nicky Maynard's opener and Mark Noble scoring from the penalty spot. Cole was involved in the build-up to Maynard's goal and he explained afterwards that he is happy with how the Hammers' attacking play is coming together at this early stage of the season.

"It was nice to see us do that link-up early in the pre-season," Cole said. "This is what we need - to be a tight unit as early as possible and I think that will see us confident for the start of the season.

"We have players who are not yet fit, those who are away on Olympic duty and hopefully new players to come in, so by the time they are here, they can all gel in nicely.

"It was a tough game but that is what you want. It was a good game and a nice new stadium to play in. There was a good atmosphere and they had lots of fans but once again we also had terrific support from our fans. It was good to see and meet them."

Celebration in new kit
Carlton Cole and his West Ham United team-mates wore the brand new Macron replica home shirt
for the first time. To order yours today, click

The only negative of the game was captain Kevin Nolan going off in the first half with a toe injury, but that enabled young defender Dan Potts to make his return to the side after missing Tuesday's friendly at Oxford United with a head injury picked up at Southend United last weekend. The results of Nolan's scan on Saturday night are still being prepared but Cole is wishing his skipper well.

"Hopefully Kev will be ok, if not for the very next game but after that. He is a strong lad, so hopefully he will be ok."

With the new 2012/13 season now just under four weeks away, thoughts are already turning to the first game at home to Aston Villa with the manager and Joint-Chairmen working hard to bring in new additions to the squad before then.

For Cole, who scored West Ham's opener in the Hammers' Play-Off final victory against Blackpool, goals and targets for the season ahead are being discussed. But for now, it is all about getting fit and getting through the rest of pre-season.

"People are talking about the new season - we have Premier League players and you have to be ambitious. But to get to mid-table in our first season back and then look to progress from there is what you would be looking at.

"You want to replicate the likes of Norwich and Swansea, who did well, and when you look, at Queens Park Rangers surviving, all the newly promoted teams stayed up. We are looking to try and do the same.

"The gaffer [Sam Allardyce] and the club are working hard to bring new players in. The manager knows how he wants to improve us before the start of the season and I am sure he will do that."

Cole and his fellow senior pros have been joined on the pitch in pre-season by a few of the Hammers up-and-coming Academy stars. With their promotion to first-team duties, Cole is now viewed as one of the senior members of the squad - a role he is relishing..

"Yeah, I am one of the older - slightly older - players now. We have a few young boys in and around the squad and all I can do is to help and guide them with my experience like I was given. I missed a couple of games early on and had to do a bit of catch-up, but now feeling good and I'm looking forward to the next few games."

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