The Big Interview - Carlton Cole

Carlton Cole returned to Barclays Premier League action last Saturday, coming off the bench as West Ham United battled to come back from 2-1 down at Manchester United.

Their quest was ultimately unsuccessful, but Cole was pleased to play his part in an effort which he felt should have been better rewarded.

Now, as attentions turn to Sunday's visit of Queens Park Rangers to the Boleyn Ground, the No24 is keen to build on a positive start to the campaign

Carlton, it was team photo day on Tuesday and an opportunity for some banter with the lads...

CC: "Yeah. I turned up a little late because I was doing my make up and i didn't realise everyone had gone out already! So I got a little round of applause and a slap on the hand from the gaffer, but all good though. It's all fun and games - I wasn't in last year's photo because I hadn't signed for the Club at that stage, so it's good to be back and in the mix with the boys."

Good to be back playing again last weekend too. You came on at Manchester United for the last half-hour, how nice was it to be involved even though the result didn't go our way?

CC: "I didn't play for the last two games prior to that, so it was nice to get a run out. But I want to get the result and I felt we scored a perfectly good goal, but they said Kevin's head was offside. I've had to tell him to keep his head onside! At the end of the day we shouldn't have been in that position at the start of the game, we gifted them some goals and had to claw our way back in. It was a good effort all round, but we want to be winning those sort of games."

Even allowing for the extra man, have you ever had such a dominant half away at Manchester United?

CC: "We were knocking at the door. I scored up there last year and would loved to have scored again this year but it didn't work out that way. McNair took one off my foot when Jenkinson put a great ball in for me to score, but he made a great clearance. I thought that was my little bit of glory there, but McNair did well being a young boy. He was under immense pressure, at least for the last half-an-hour, 40 minutes. They didn't crack and the result didn't go our way in the end."

Do the last two performances show how far this team has come in a short space of time?

CC: "Yes, I think we're playing some exciting football. The manager has got the team playing the way he wants to play, and our squad is a bit younger than it has been for the last few years. I'm one of the eldest now, going on 31. and that shows you the momentum of the team. We've got exciting young players who all want to do well and that's what you need in a squad."

When you see the likes of Diafra and Enner come in, does that push you on even further?

CC: "Of course. Since I've been here I've played with a host of strikers and when you've got young, exciting players coming through you want to prove you can play with them as well. It's good that they've started off their West Ham careers so well and it's only positive for the team. There's a challenge for the places up there, which means everyone knows they need to be on their toes to stay in the squad."

QPR next. They've got the likes of Rob Green and Bobby Zamora there, are you looking forward to coming up against them on Sunday?

CC: "Yes, of course. It's nice to see old faces. Bobby and Rob are over there, and I know a few more of their players too, being a London lad. It's going to be a good challenge, and hopefully we can get back to winning ways, at home with the crowd behind us. They want to see good football and they want to see us win the game - that's what we're going to be setting out to do."