Cole ready to roar

Carlton Cole is hoping to make a major step towards establishing himself as a fixture in the England squad with Saturday's match in Ukraine.

Although academic in terms of FIFA World Cup qualification, with the nation already assured a place at the 2010 finals in South Africa, there is no thought of Cole taking it easy this weekend. With four goals in seven league games this season, his club form is great - but he knows he has to take it on to secure his England place.

"I always say I am far from the finished article and have got to keep working on my game," Cole said when quizzed about his Three Lions aspirations and the prospects of a fifth cap in Donetsk. "I know what I have to do and what I have to improve on.

"I have been trying to improve all the time. You might have read in some interviews that I have made changes to my background life that has helped me and I have made changes to what I do and how I do things on the field, I am just looking to get better and better."

Cole turns 26 on Monday and is aware he is obviously less experienced than the established players in Fabio Capello's thoughts. As such, he is rightly reluctant to consider himself in the same company as those who have dozens of caps and have played in previous final tournaments with England.

"I don't know if I am ranked with them yet, but  I am definitely trying to get up there. Hopefully if I can keep working hard I will reach the levels I want to get to. It is important for me to play for my country and if selected will give 100 per cent. That is what I am there to do and, if I can, make a contribution.

"I just want to keep going from strength to strength for both West Ham and England. It is a case of one step at a time. I have a lot of hope that I can make the World Cup, but I know I have to keep plugging away and knocking on the door."