Cole welcomes competition

Carlton Cole is moving closer to his first start of the season after an impressive cameo off the bench in the 1-0 weekend win at Doncaster Rovers.

With the manager admitting on Friday that the No9 has not yet been ready for a first-eleven appearance because of his stop-start summer, Cole gave notice of his intentions with a lively display off the bench for the last half-hour on Saturday.

He will hope to take that on for Tuesday's short trip around the M25 to Watford, having shown some neat touches and strong running at the Keepmoat Stadium. He also went very close with a lashed effort that just went wide but, goal or not, Cole was just pleased to be involved in a rare awayday success for the Hammers.

"The lads played well enough to get the result," he told "A few of the lads came in a bit disappointed about the way we won it but a win's a win. I was pleased just to get the three points on the table. You need to come to places like this and get the result.

"An away win is valuable. We haven't had one for ages and we are really pleased with that."


Also pleasing for the England striker was hearing the 3,400-strong  fans singing his name once he entered the fray. The Hammers travelling army certainly understand and appreciate the effort he puts in for the cause.

"It made me feel privileged to be a footballer. I love the whole aspect of the supporters at this club. When they get behind me, they really get behind me. I want to give them some good times back because they have suffered the last couple of years and let's get them used to winning again.

"You come to a game like this and the fans are very vocal. They outsung Doncaster. I could hear them. That's what it is all about. We need to give them lots to sing about and be happy about. When they are happy, we are happy."

Cole has had to watch as the tireless Frederic Piquionne has begun in the team as the main striker this season and knows that new recruit John Carew is also nearing his Hammers bow. Never one to shirk a challenge, the club's second-longest serving player is prepared to fight for his place in the side.

"As I've said, I am a committed player to West Ham. I always want to do well for the club. They gave me the opportunity when things were not going for me in football and I'll never forget that.

"I am comfortable where I am but obviously the manager has brought in some very good players. There is real competition for places and hopefully he will get the best out of me.

"We have got good quality up front and good players to support us and a good defence. Now it is up to us strikers to shine. Competition for places is good and I am happy who the manager has brought in to give us a kick up the backside."