West Ham co-owner David Gold believes Kevin Nolan can help the Hammers back into the top flight, starting with the 2011-12 season-opener against Cardiff on August 6.

The npower Championship fixtures for the new season were announced on Friday and new Hammers boss Sam Allardyce has a tough-looking first game against the play-off hardened Bluebirds. Spirits are currently high at Upton Park following the surprise signing of Newcastle captain Nolan, and Gold feels he could be the catalyst behind an instant Premier League return.

"I think he is quality," he told Sky Sports News. "The relationship he has with Sam from their time at Bolton is important and I think he is captain material. He has that determination, that will and desire, which Sam has and the owners have."

He added: "I know the fans are delighted with this signing, it's a coup of West Ham.

"If we were in the Premier League you'd expect us to be pursuing a player of this quality.

"This is the player we can build the squad around, this iconic player."

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