With West Ham desperately try to bring in further reinforcements their forgotten forward Carlton Cole has stated that he is ready to fill the void left by Andy Carroll at the start of the new campaign.
The 30-year-old front man has been somewhat over-looked by manager Sam Allardyce who is insistent that he must bring in another striker to supplement his new signings Mauro Zarate and Enner Valencia.
Valencia is thought to be a few weeks away from match fitness and is set to miss the Hammers’ opening two Premier League matches, while Carroll is going to be sidelined for up to four months with an ankle injury.
Running out of options
This has led to the Hammers being linked with a host of strikers across Europe over the past week, with four in particular being tipped of making a switch to east London – Leo Baptistao, Peter Crouch, Marco Streller and Hugo Almeida.
Stoke manager Mark Hughes recently issued a hands-off warning on Crouch who was thought to be their most viable option, while Streller has released a statement on FC Basel 1893’s website stating that he will be staying in Switzerland.
Another blow for West Ham and they are rapidly running out of options, but their loyal servant Cole is more than ready to step in and is desperate to grasp the opportunity to prove he still has a lot to give.
"When Andy was out last year, I felt I did a good job in that period of time, so I know I can do that. It's not a problem for me, it's just about getting fit,” he told the official club website.
"I have a great opportunity to get fit and get the games under my belt so I can start the season well.
"We've got competition for places and that's what going's to spur me on to even do better."
If the Hammers do fail in their attempts to bring in another striker before the window slams shut at the end of August, Cole will most definitely have a big role to play with Carroll out of action for so long.
He scored six goals in 26 league appearances last term and is clearly relishing the thought of getting more game time in the coming season, which can only be beneficial to his form and fitness.
Cole is perhaps not who Hammers fans would most want leading their attack, but until Valencia is fully fit he will be more than capable of filling in and doing a job. However he needs his teammates to create opportunities for him to succeed and if Big Sam was to play Zarate up top with him, the pair of them could reap the benefits.
The onus on the manager to change the club's philosophy and play attacking football will depend on how much trust he places in the players he has available to him, and a firing Cole at the start of the season could well save his job.
He would certainly be a better option than playing the often farcical 4-6-0 formation that the Hammers were set up like on a few occasions last season.
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