Cole raring to go

Carlton Cole has spoken of the belief in the West Ham United camp as the squad head to Portsmouth in high spirits.

The England striker could be back on the bench for Tuesday night's match at Fratton Park after a two-month absence and said the mood had been boosted by the arrival of new owners David Sullivan and David Gold. He said: "It is good for everyone, the players and the manager and the fans as well.

"All of us can now just concentrate and build on what we have got here already. We know we are here to achieve things and have goals that have been set.

"The first thing is to get up the table but it is important also that we go on to realise the true potential we have and we should have help coming with a few acquisitions to the squad."

Cole is in contention for his first appearance since limping out of the 28 November visit of Burnley with a knee problem. He has been putting in long hours at Chadwell Heath and will be ready whenever called upon, should it be against Portsmouth or even the visit of Blackburn Rovers this weekend.

"I had a good pre-season which has given me a good base, so I just need to keep building on everything now and get match sharp.

"I am looking forward to getting back out there on the pitch - trying to make sure I am explosive for West Ham. I want to make a difference for the team when I get called upon.

"We have a run of matches coming up which we believe we can get results from. With hopefully a full squad to choose from, we can get results in these games. We are feeling positive, we want to get as many points on the board as possible."

Cole said the squad had responded to the positive air around the Boleyn in the last week. "It is good to hear the chairmen want to invest in helping us because all we have heard in the past is that we may have to sell players.

"It is just nice to know and feel that we don't have to do that, that everyone is settled. We can just concentrate on pulling in the same direction and getting further up the table."

Cole, who has scored 14 goals in his last 25 league games since Boxing Day 2008, was part of a player delegation that met the chairmen at a special training ground gathering last week. "It was very positive, I for one, took a lot of confidence out of what they were saying, to know that they are here for us, here for the fans, here for the staff.

"They have come in with a no-nonsense attitude which is good. First and foremost we have to get the job done - our priority is to stay up. That is what we are focusing on and are here to do. We must start that against Portsmouth.

"We all know now what we are doing and no player has to leave, so everyone knows they have to fight for their places now, especially if other players get brought in. That will be a real positive thing - competition for places is very important in any team."