Zola up for Sunday

Gianfranco Zola has spoken of the significance of Sunday's match with Everton to ensuring West Ham United head into the international break on a high.

As well as the opportunity to move up the standings, the manager knows extending the unbeaten run to four matches would do wonders for the squad. "It is very, very important. You build your confidence through these little things. I will make sure they realise that and build something more on top of that. That is how the confidence comes - from details like that."

Radoslav Kovac is back from suspension but it remains to be seen whether Herita Ilunga and Carlton Cole will be available, having suffered hamstring problems in the 2-1 win against Aston Villa in midweek. The manager has Jonathan Spector and Zavon Hines standing by, while he could also look to incorporate Luis Jimenez and Alessandro Diamanti.

"It has been very positive [since Aston Villa]," the manager said. "Everybody was lifted. It was a fantastic three points. Everybody was cheered up and very happy. It was a great moment for us.

"Football is about confidence. We know we have been playing well but not picking up the points we needed. That victory will give us a lot in the situation. The rest is all there. We know we have the qualities, we know that we can compete at high levels. Those points will give us the rest of it."

That belief has extended to the fans, with Zola once again praising the Boleyn Ground faithful for their backing. "They were very important. The crowd is massive as when you are in these situations and need confidence, the crowd plays a major part in this.

"The other day they were really good and in the end all together we celebrated a fantastic victory. I want to see that kind of atmosphere a lot of times. I have no doubt there will be a fantastic atmosphere against Everton."

Speaking of David Moyes' men, Zola is aware of the challenge they pose. The Toffees won both meetings between the clubs last season and will become the sixth of last season's top eight to head to east London in the first half-dozen home games this season. Already Liverpool, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham have arrived, with the Hammers arguably having held their own in each contest.

"I watched a bit of their game on Thursday night. It will be a difficult match. They are a tough opponent and will be difficult to beat. If we play with the confidence we did the other day we will go through it and will do the job."

He is banking on the likes of his goalkeeper - on his 100th successive start for the club - doing the job as they did against Villa. "Robert Green gave a really good display and made one of those saves that will probably be the save of the season. I was particularly pleased for him and he is such an important player for us. To see him in such form is good for everybody.

"He showed again why he is the No1 for England with some miracle saves and it says everything about him that he has played 99 games in a row for this club. He is something special."

He also reserved praise for Mark Noble, who will notch up a century of league appearances for the Hammers and, despite only being 22, has coped well with the demands placed on him this season. "He is playing on a regular basis in the team. He has to take his own responsibility and I think he is doing very well. He has shown a lot of character he just needs to keep progressing the way he has been."