Zola 'relying' on Cole heroics

BY foxsports • April 23, 2010

The Hammers are three points outside the relegation zone and a victory at Upton Park, combined with a Hull defeat by Sunderland, would effectively secure their top-flight status. West Ham's goal difference is 21 better than Hull's and worth an extra point with only three matches remaining of a turbulent season. Cole has not scored in nine league games and is struggling with a persistent knee injury, which forced him to be replaced early in Monday's defeat at Liverpool. But Zola is convinced the England striker is saving his best goalscoring form for when it really matters - and there is no time more pressing than against Wigan. "Carlton hasn't scored for a while but he's keeping an important one back for us, possibly a winner," said Zola. "I'm relying on that. He hasn't scored many goals but he is an important player for us. As I said, I know he is keeping something good for us." West Ham were panned for their performance in Monday's 3-0 defeat at Liverpool, after which the players admitted to Zola they had let him down. That honesty session convinced Zola that his men have the character required to take a giant stride towards safety on Saturday. And the Hammers will be boosted by the return of dynamic midfielder Scott Parker, who missed the last two games through suspension and is set to replace Junior Stanislas. "We know we need a reaction," said Zola. "It's a massive game for us and we also know that the last game wasn't very good. You say certain things in the changing room and it is important because it means the players are committed. "They are determined to bounce back. I am confident we will see a reaction. We have had so many problems this year and we are determined to give those problems a kick and this is an incredible opportunity to do that. "We don't know what's going to happen (at Hull) but I think it is important we focus on winning our game. That is the start. "Then, if some results go our way, it's even better - but it all starts with winning our game. I'm sure the players will react well. "Scott is back and it's good. For this team, he is a reference point and when he is on the pitch he makes a big difference for us. "It will be big to have him back." Luis Boa Morte will also come into the selection equation, though the best he can hope for is a place on the bench after 11 months out with a knee injury. "He's fit and has played two games with the reserve team. I'm delighted to have him back available because he's an important player on and off the pitch," said Zola.