Team spirit inspires Cole

Carlton Cole has said the visit of Manchester United is the first of eight "cup finals" facing the Hammers between now and the end of the season.

The in-form striker is hoping to face the Red Devils on Saturday lunchtime but faces a battle for a starting berth. Avram Grant is set to have a fully-fit complement of forwards to choose from.

After a goalless draw at Tottenham Hotspur a fortnight ago, Cole is hoping to add to his run of six goals in ten games this weekend but there is plenty of competition for places. Demba Ba and Robbie Keane returned from international football with goals and games under their belt, while Frederic Piquionne is back in training.

"Every game from now to the end of the season is a cup final for us," said Cole. "We need to show the same endeavour and the same spirit we showed at Tottenham.

"The team spirit was amazing at White Hart Lane and that's what we really need to work with to get the results. Then the quality will shine through."

Thinking back to that last run-out, Cole said the formula for a repeat showing against Manchester United was there to follow.

"It was a wonderful game. You just need to put in the hard work and the luck will be there with you. All the boys really tried hard and we need to show that again. We are building on our performances and we are all working towards moving the club up the table as quickly as possible."