Joe: We're Strong

Joe Cole insists that West Ham's squad, small though it is, has a unity and strength of purpose about it.

With, at the moment, 12 fewer players than at the end of the season, Glenn Roeder is scouting around to bring in the right characters to Upton Park.

In the mean time, though, the captain's assessment is that the current crop is a small but beautifully formed unit.

"It is a great atmosphere in training; it is a small squad but all the lads seem to be pulling in the right direction," he says.

"Rob Lee is here and he looked like he did the business on Tuesday; he is a great player who has had a great career and hopefully he can put the icing on the cake for West Ham.

"There is great unity with the lads; we are all looking forward to the season and getting fit, back into the swing of things.

"It is important West Ham are in the Premier League come this time next season; financially, but also for the fans as well."

Joe is delighted to see Glenn Roeder fit, well, and in the dugout again, and adds:

"It is great to see Glenn back; he looks fine and he is a young and healthy man - it just goes to show that a strong character can come back from anything so fair play to him.

"It is a boost for everyone that he is back."

As for his own fitness, he adds:

"Last year was the first full preseason I have ever done so it is important to get another good one in; the fitness is going well and I had four weeks break which is longer than last year.

"I was all over the world in the summer; Cannes, Las Vegas, Dubai, South Africa and La Manga with England...I had a good break and I needed it mentally as well as physically and to do the things a normal 21 year old would do.

"You need to switch off from everything but getting back to the football and the routine is nice."

Joe scored with a header on Tuesday at Bournemouth after crashing one effort against the bar, and he says:

"It was nice to get on the scoresheet early on and get the fitness for next season."