Three lions in line

Robert Green, Matthew Upson and Carlton Cole were training again with England on Wednesday all with a realistic chance of lining up in the vital FIFA World Cup qualifier against Croatia next week.

The trio have been regulars under Fabio Capello of late and will want to impress in a friendly at home against Slovenia this Saturday before the all-important qualifier against the Croatians. Should England win that Group Six encounter they will be certain of a place at the finals in South Africa next summer.

Green, Upson and Cole first figured on the pitch together for England back in February in the second half of a 2-0 defeat by Spain in Seville. That was the first time the club had seen three Hammers in action for the country at the same time since 7 September 2002 when David James, Trevor Sinclair and Joe Cole figured in a 1-1 draw with Portugal.

The 29-year-old Green has started the last three internationals in the absence of David James and has five caps to his name. His form has been tremendous at the start of the new club season, with clean sheets in the away win and draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers respectively.

Upson, 30, is the most experienced of the trio. He has 15 caps and one goal for his country, and could get the nod to replace the injured Rio Ferdinand. The club captain at West Ham will hope to partner John Terry

Up front, the 25-year-old Cole has retained his place after his excellent substitute's cameo in the last friendly - a 2-2 draw in the Netherlands on 12 August. That was his third international cap although he is yet to find the net. He is up and running for West Ham though, with a superb strike against Tottenham Hotspur last month in front of the watching Capello.