'We are not safe yet'

West Ham United are five matches unbeaten, sit tenth in the Barclays Premier League and seven points above the relegation zone with eleven matches remaining.

While pundits and bookmakers have the Hammers all but safe, striker Carlton Cole says there is plenty more work to be done before he and his team-mates can relax.

With tough-looking trips to Everton and Stoke City and home games against in-form Hull City and Manchester United next on the fixture list, Cole knows West Ham need to maintain their recent level of performance if they are to retain their top-half position.

"We're not safe yet, we just need to keep winning games," said the No24, who has scored six Barclays Premier League goals since his return to the Club in October. "We are looking upwards. At the start of the season we were looking up too and it is good to do that rather than looking over your shoulder, because that can lead to mistakes.

"We now have to look towards Everton, which will be a hard game.

"They are a good footballing team so we just need to nullify their attacking and try and get a goal, because the form we are in at the moment, we can notch against anyone."

Cole bagged his sixth goal of the season in Saturday's 3-1 Barclays Premier League win over Southampton, reacting quickest to slam home after his initial header had cannoned back off the post. When asked about the strike, the England international was delighted to get a second chance to convert.

"I thought the chance had gone. It was a good header, but not that good as it wasn't on target. It came back to me, fortunately, and even if it hadn't I think it was a handball, but he steered it straight back to me and I finished with my left foot."

A Stewart Downing corner led to Cole's goal, while the same player provided the centre for Cole to head on for Kevin Nolan's match-clinching third. The forward is enjoying the experience of playing alongside the speedy, skilful, two-footed England winger, as well as fellow wideman Matt Jarvis.

"Obviously with those guys there is always a threat getting behind the opposition. That is all you can ask as a striker because you know you are going to be going in on goal instead of always having your back to goal. That is a really positive thing to have in the team and that is a big part of why we are doing so well, because those two are on form.

"For the third goal, I decided to get something on it and I did try and go for goal, but at the end of the day you have got Nobby there who has made a living out of being in the right place at the right time. He did an overhead kick, but I will claim the assist!

"It was a great finish. He is in great form at the moment. Since he has come back from his suspension, he has led the team to some good victories and that is what we need from him."

As for Cole himself, the striker said he is feeling in great shape - physically and mentally - after returning to the Boleyn Ground on an 18-month contract late last year.

"I didn't have a pre-season, but I have been playing and that is what I need to do.

"Training has been intense. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to keep me fit. I feel wanted because I got re-signed. When you are not feeling wanted it is always hard to take, but when you feel wanted it is a big difference to your game and your attitude."