Looking strong for Stoke

Gianfranco Zola has a near full-strength squad to choose from when he picks his team for Saturday's Barclays Premier League game at Stoke City.

The manager's options had given him plenty of food for thought as he put the players through their paces on Friday - but one thing he was clear about was that rumour and speculation off the field had no bearing on his day to day work. "My focus is here and my future comes and goes through this club.

"I owe a lot to this club and I am determined to fulfil my promises and the expectations that the players and supporters have got of me. I will do this job as well as I can and I am totally focused on this."

Helping the manager in his aims is that Danny Gabbidon, Jack Collison, Radoslav Kovac and Guille Franco are all in contention following their returns to fitness. They will be joined by Valon Behrami, who will be pushing for his second start of the season and his first since 19 September.

The only absentees will be the suspended Scott Parker and the injured Kieron Dyer alongside long-term injury victims Luis Boa Morte and Dean Ashton. "Everybody should be available apart form Kieron Dyer and Scott Parker, who is suspended," Zola said. "The others are fit and well. Franco is available as well and he is part of the force for Saturday."

The West Ham United manager has seen a real determination in his "force" this week to help the club climb up the Premier League table.

"It is important that the force perform for me all of the time no matter what position we are in. They have to perform. They are focused and they know the position is not very good and is probably not the position that we deserve.

"We are determined to fight and to improve it straight away. Saturday is a difficult game with a difficult opposition but the focus is there."

The extra bodies in the squad will be welcomed for the trip to a stadium that Stoke made into something of a fortress last season. Just four teams, of which West Ham were one, left the Britannia with maximum points in the 2008/09 campaign and Zola knows another thorough examination awaits his squad.

"I have a lot of respect for Stoke and for the manager - they are a tough team. We know what is coming and we feel that we need to take out our A game if we want to come out with something and the players are determined to do that.

"We are going to take some measures against them. Last year we did very well with them and we will try and repeat them on Saturday."

The record books suggest Stoke will also need to be on their game because they have not registered a home win against the Hammers since 1 October 1983. When asked about that coupled with Stoke's recent tendency to let in late goals, Zola insisted he did not care for how the goals arrived as long as his side get a result.

"History can be something that can give you confidence but we know that it will be a tough match and we will need to be at our best if we want to get something out of that.

"As long as there are three points I don't mind if we score in the first minute or the last minute. As the time goes the physical condition will improve as well so they will be better. Stoke are a side that can be dangerous especially when they have set-plays and when they can put the ball in box. But they also have weaknesses and we will try to exploit those weaknesses."

Zola has had to contend with losing several players to national duty over the past ten days. The inconvenience has not had a big disruption on preparations, however, and all theplayers have had a chance to reflect on the lessons learned from the previous game with Fulham.

"It is always a problem for teams like us who have international team players as you end up losing the players for ten days and only see them just before the match. But there are no complaints, I'm not the only one in that position so we have to make the most of that.

"Against Fulham we know that for some reason after the first goal we lost it a little bit. We are determined to not repeat it again and on Saturday we are determined to show that."

One of those players returning from national duty is Robert Green, who was unfortunate to be dismissed in England's defeat by Ukraine on Saturday. The resulting suspension allowed Green to return to Chadwell Heath early and Zola has seen a real determination in his No1 ahead of the weekend.

"He's been brilliant. He was very difficult to beat in training form the edge of the box on Thursday so he is very well focused. Unfortunately he was unlucky in that episode [the red card] but he is determined to come back and do well for us. He is a player that makes a lot of difference when he is on form for us."

Another  welcome sight for everyone at Chadwell Heath was the appearance of Calum Davenport, who started some very light rehab work following his release from hospital.

"Calum's doing well. I think he can start doing some cycle work and some swimming. He has to be assessed again in about a month's time but it was very pleasing for everyone to see him around. It is too early to say [about his recovery] but the fact that he can do such sports is encouraging."