Striking options excite Zola

Gianfranco Zola believes Benni McCarthy is the perfect man to score the goals to send West Ham United soaring up the Barclays Premier League table.

The South African has been a prolific marksman wherever he has been, scoring nearly 150 goals for Ajax, Celta Vigo, FC Porto and Blackburn Rovers. The Cape Town-born striker is also the leading scorer in his country's history with 32 goals in 77 internationals.

While his record speaks for itself, Hammers manager Zola was happy to discuss the 32-year-old's undoubted qualities.

"He will be a threat in the last third," the manager predicted. "He is a type of player that will score goals. He will be a big help for us.

"I think he's got quality, which is what I'm looking for. He has got quality in the last 20 metres. He's got goals in his bag and that's what I need right now, and that's what I'm going to be asking him to produce for us.

"He'll be around the box. Obviously a player like him, you have to keep him around the box, because he can be more effective like that."

The manager also believes McCarthy will work well with Carlton Cole and the club's other strikers, including Mexico forward Guille Franco and young pair Frank Nouble and Freddie Sears.

Fitness permitting, Zola revealed that the McCarthy/Cole partnership could be unleashed on Burnley at Turf Moor this Saturday afternoon.

"I think it will be a good partnership because Cole is strong and skilful and McCarthy is also smart and skilful, so I think they will find a good combination. Hopefully this week we're going to work on the fitness and on Saturday they're going to be good.

"I think it will be a big help for Carlton, because it's going to give him the opportunity to be more relaxed and also the opposition will not only have to look after one player, they have to look after two players and that is a big thing. I think if they work together and help each other they can really be a big asset for us.

"We are a very young team. We have a lot of young players in our squad so I think it's not wrong that we bring in somebody with the experience, football knowledge and also goals. So I think it's a good choice."