Benni back for final push

Benni McCarthy is back in contention and Gianfranco Zola is banking on his South Africa striker playing a part in the club's survival fight.

The January recruit has endured a frustrating start to his claret and blue career after suffering a knee injury in the first half of his debut at Burnley on 6 February. He finally returned to the first-team fold at the weekend for the trip to Chelsea but was not used off the bench.

Zola hopes another week at Chadwell Heath will put him in good stead for Saturday's trip to Arsenal. "He has a lot of faith in his ability. He's a big player. He was training the whole of last week. He started very slowly, but towards the end you could see him improving.

"This week he will be at his top. We are relying a lot on his experience and knowledge. He has played important games in his career. We are expecting nine very important games. His experience and quality will be vital for us."