Gianfranco Zola is looking for his West Ham United squad to "keep the momentum" when they travel to Watford in the Carling Cup on Tuesday night.
The manager and his No2 Steve Clarke both tasted success in this competition a decade ago and know the value of a good cup run starting with the third-round tie at Vicarage Road. "To win a trophy is always important and we really value the importance of the Carling Cup. Watford will be difficult but we see this match as a good opportunity for us to go forward in this competition."
As well as thinking about progressing to the fourth round, Zola said a strong display was also necessary in order to build on the 3-1 win against Newcastle United in his first game in charge. "It will be great if the players can keep the momentum going. That is what I told them. After Saturday's performance when everyone was happy and full of confidence, I told them we had to keep that going for as long as possible."
With Carlton Cole sitting out after picking up a slight foot problem against Newcastle, there may be a chance for Freddie Sears to stake a claim in attack alongside David Di Michele. One or two other academy products may also be in with a chance of making the 18 such as central defender Bondz 'Gala, who has impressed in recent youth and reserve-team action, and Jack Collison.
"This match could be a good chance for the young players," Zola added. "It might be an opportunity for one or two of them. Whoever plays we are going to try and play as well as possible and get through to the next round." Along with Di Michele, Herita Ilunga will be looking for his first taste of English cup competition while Walter Lopez, who is yet to make a first-team appearance, is also in contention.