'It's a big opportunity'

Gianfranco Zola believes his West Ham United side have a 'big opportunity' to start climbing the Barclays Premier League table on Saturday.

The Hammers host Burnley, who have picked up just one point on their travels this season, losing five of their six matches away from Turf Moor.

Zola has also been boosted by the return of the fit-again Herita Ilunga, Mark Noble and James Tomkins to his squad, while Kieron Dyer is also eager to be involved after netting twice on his return to reserve-team action in midweek.

The West Ham manager knows the Lancastrians' visit to the Boleyn Ground represents the perfect chance for his players to kick-start their campaign.

"It's a big opportunity for us. We need to get a victory in our ground. It's been a while since we had a victory so it's important, we know that. If we keep playing the football the way we're playing right now and improving certain things, we have a good chance."

While Noble, Tomkins, Ilunga and Dyer could all be involved on Saturday, Zola will be without captain Matthew Upson, who injured a hamstring in training. Scott Parker will skipper the side in the England defender's absence.

"Unfortunately, Matthew Upson had a problem the other day in training and he's not going to be available. On the other hand, we have Gabbidon who is back and did very well for us the other day, and Mark Noble and James Tomkins will both be available again.

"Matty is not going to be able to play, but Kieron Dyer is available. I haven't decided yet, but it's good that he's coming back. He's an important player and a quality player so it's good to have him back and available.

"He's available but I'm not saying he's going to play. I don't want to put pressure on him. He's been out for a long time. The other day he did very well with the reserves, but that's it. It's good for me to have him available.

"I saw him very positive. He came back and he is bright and now he needs to train a lot because he has to be able to play at this standard for a long period. You can only get that by training every day and every week."

Whoever lines up in Zola's starting eleven on Saturday, the manager believes his players will be spurred on to victory by the disappointment of relinquishing a 2-0 lead in last weekend's 3-3 draw at Hull City.

"I don't think it looked like we gained a point from the game. It looked like we lost two, because after we equalised we had two clear chances to win it.

"Obviously, we think we should have been celebrating a victory last week, but I believe it will give them more focus in certain moments of the game.

"I know, on a couple of occasions, we didn't handle it very well. We should have had more control of the game, and I'm assuming that will give them the focus when those moments come again and they will handle them better.

"It's simple. We were 2-0 up and had to be more in control of the game."

While Burnley's away form has been indifferent, they have picked up 16 points from a possible 21 at home. With that in mind, Zola knows his players cannot afford to be complacent this weekend.

"They are a good team. They play well. I saw them playing against Manchester City [where they drew 3-3] and was positively impressed by them.

"They have a good squad. They like passing the ball. I believe it will be an entertaining game. It is a team that also plays differently than the normal ones because they try to play a different kind of football with a lot of passing - very similar to what we do. It should be an interesting game."

Zola has been impressed by the approach adopted by last season's Championship play-off winners under Owen Coyle.

Despite being aged just nine days younger than the Hammers boss, the 43-year-old Irishman turned out for Burnley's reserves earlier this season, leading Zola to joke that Coyle had nearly inspired him into making his own playing comeback.

"I know he's doing a good job and I also know he played in a game, so he gave me an idea! I'm only joking. I'm sure he's fitter than me!

"It's good. He's doing very well. He's got his team playing good football and he's getting results. It's good to see managers that encourage their teams to play football and make it entertaining. I wish he would have success, but not on Saturday!"