Kovi back in the fold

Radoslav Kovac's return to West Ham United has been well received by all at Chadwell Heath with the Czech international midfielder having left a lasting impression during his previous spell.

The 29-year-old is a natural leader - he was captain at Spartak Moscow - and will bring extra experience to a squad filled with talented youngsters and fellow internationals. On the evidence of Saturday's win at Wolverhampton Wanderers, he and Valon Behrami will have a battle to force their way into the Hammers midfield.

His 'debut' could come against Tottenham Hotspur next weekend but before training his first act was to say 'hello' again. Judging by the smiles of all who greeted 'Kovi', he is a popular member of the squad. There was handshakes all round and a quick joke with Herita Ilunga about why he has changed from No3 to No23 this season.

Gianfranco Zola was quick to sum up the significance of Kovac's arrival on a three-year contract.

"I am very pleased because he is a player who last year did very well for us," he said. "He is a good player for us. He has got experience, he has got charisma, a good personality and he will be an important player for us."

With the manager having secured Herita Ilunga, Luis Jimenez and Kovac this summer - to go with talented youngsters like Fabio Daprela and Frank Nouble - he recognises there is not much more that needs to be done at a club where the majority are on new long-term contracts. However, more attacking options are still wanted.

"We are working on it," Zola added. "We know it is the part that from last year we need to improve. I can't give you a percentage but it is our concern and before the time expires we will come up with something. No doubt we are looking for some strikers."

I think in midfield we have enough cover because we have a strong midfield. Right now I'm playing Jack Collison, Mark Noble and Scott Parker. I also have Kieron Dyer and Luis Jimenez plus Junior Stanislas can play. I have Josh Payne and now Kovac and, in a few weeks, Valon Behrami.

"I have no problems in midfield. It is well covered and I don't need anyone else."