Squad strong at Bolton

Gianfranco Zola and his team travel to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon aiming to avenge memories of his first league loss as West Ham United manager.

After a bright start to life in east London with two wins from two back in September, Zola saw his side give up their 100 per cent league record under him with a 3-1 defeat at home by Bolton in miserable conditions. Fast forward six months and West Ham may be riding high and unbeaten on the road since 29 October, but memories linger of that defeat.

"To be honest we were very unlucky in that game and we didn't deserve the defeat," Zola recalled. "I think the guys remember it and I'm sure they will try to get back what we didn't get in that game."

The recent run and a strong travelling party, missing only the suspended Lucas Neill and injured Luis Boa Morte from those who have propelled the club up to eighth in the league, has raised hopes for a first-ever success at the Reebok Stadium. Zola is warding against complacency though. "We know what kind of team they are," he said.

"We know they are very physical and we need to find other solutions to get round their physical aspects. We've been working and we will try and surprise them if we can." Zola has James Tomkins and Valon Behrami fit again, while Radoslav Kovac and Savio are looking for first starts and Carlton Cole has worked tirelessly with the club's rehabilitation staff this week after taking a knock to his ankle last time out.

The manager also has Wednesday's trip to Middlesbrough for the FA Cup fifth-round replay to contemplate and is keeping a close eye on his squad. The youthful exuberance of goalkeeper Peter Kurucz, 20, and winger Junior Stanislas, 19, have added to his options after a positive reserve showing for both in midweek. "The players are working very hard and it is a tiring month," he said. "Physically we are OK. I am watching the statistics.

"I am sure we will cope and also if somebody is tired we will have a replacement. Kovac has been training for two weeks and has come on very well. I am sure he will get a chance in the next two games. At Bolton, we are going to try to play our own game. We know their strengths and we know some weaknesses and we want to exploit them. In these next two games, I will try to use as many players as possible."

The cup may be looming but Zola will not think about the Riverside date until the final whistle on Saturday. "For me, the next game is always the most important one. The way we play against Bolton will dictate a lot how we play against Middlesbrough so I want to play at 100 per cent and get the points. I tell you, it's going to be vital for the Middlesbrough game also."