Gianfranco backs Franco

Gianfranco Zola is expected to name a strong squad for Tuesday night's Carling Cup third-round tie with Bolton Wanderers and could include new recruit Guillermo Franco for the first time.

Zola is keen to progress in the competition that he won as a player so a squad largely similar to that which narrowly lost to Liverpool on Saturday was due to make the journey north to face Gary Megson's side. Franco could be at least one addition to the travelling party after joining up with his new team-mates for training for the first time on Sunday.

"We will see as he has only just come," Zola said. "But there is the perfect possibility to see Franco so we have had a chance to look at him and assess."

With Carlton Cole and Zavon Hines causing the Liverpool back line no end of problems on Saturday, Zola is looking forward to further adding to that threat with addition of Mexican international Franco at the Reebok Stadium.

"He is a main striker and is good at holding the ball and very good with the feet. He is a reference up there and likes to play off to the others and he can make a difference to us."

It remains to be seen whether Valon Behrami and Matthew Upson will travel after picking up minor knocks on Saturday so the likes of Manuel Da Costa, Jonathan Spector and Radoslav Kovac are standing by to step in should the game come too soon for the pair. Further forward, Kieron Dyer could also be in with a chance of starting after impressing as a substitute at the weekend.

While his starting XI may not be 100 per cent certain, one thing is clear - the West Ham United manager will put a side out that he thinks is capable of ensuring the Hammers are in the pot for Saturday's fourth-round draw.

"The Carling Cup is very important and we take it very seriously. We want to go ahead in that competition so we will try to win the game."