Manager Sam Allardyce and captain Kevin Nolan say a fit Winston Reid and Andy Carroll will boost West Ham United hugely this season.
Centre-back Reid missed a large portion of the 2013/14 campaign through a high ankle sprain, restricting the New Zealand captain to just 15 Barclays Premier League appearances and leaving a gaping hole in the Hammers' squad.
This year, the No2 has joined the squad on the Football United Tour of New Zealand and Big Sam believes the pair will contribute greatly to the 2014/15 campaign.
"First and foremost his defensive qualities are what Winston are about," said the manager. "Today there is a shortage of players who play in central defence who put their defensive duties first.
"That's the key element as if you are central defender in our league, you combat some of the best strikers in the world when you play in the Premier League. You've got to be sharp and alert to read danger.
"He has improved an incredible around since I arrived at the Club to be a very consistent, powerful and important player for us. He did get injured quite a bit last year but our whole defensive unit was fantastic. It was a team effort though but we got 14 clean sheets last year, which is the hub of building a successful season but also getting the other right is what were after next season.
"Winston has been a key part of us sustaining our place in the Premier League and hopefully getting better as well."
Winston Reid will be playing a full part in his native New Zealand
At the same time, skipper Kevin Nolan believes Andy Carroll is set to play a massive role after recovering from the plantar fasciitis that kept him to just 22 league appearances last term.
Nolan says West Ham's offensive talisman will improve the side's attacking threat in terms of scoring and creating goals.
"We'll have the Big Man available for the whole of the season and I think that will be a big thing for us," said the No4. "Last season, we had injuries and it made it very difficult for me, from a personal point of view, to build up a relationship with just one striker. There was a lot of chopping and changing to do because of the state of the injuries we had to put up with last year.
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"I'm really confident that, if we can stay away from injuries and keep Andy fit, as well as introducing the signings we have brought in, that this year is going to be a very good one for us. I've seen Mauro Zarate and he's a fantastic player who I can really feed off and who can also score goals.
"I'm just touching wood that we don't lose Andy and Winston for the amount of time that we did last season. If we don't, I'm sure we'll do really well and have a productive season."
Football United Tour
Wellington Phoenix v West Ham United
Wednesday 23 July 2014, 7.30pm (local time)
Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
Sydney FC v West Ham United
Saturday 26 July 2014, 2pm (local time)
Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand
Football United Tour - Supporters' Guide
Open Training in New Zealand
Hammers arrive in New Zealand