Cole offered Zola backing

West Ham United head coach Gianfranco Zola has backed striker Carlton Cole to play a major role in his side's battle to avoid the drop from the Premier League.

The 26-year-old England international has been hampered by injury problems this term and has recently gone eight games without a goal for the Hammers.

However, Zola commented:"Carlton has not scored for a while, but the contribution from his game is massive.

"He produced a good pass for Ilan for one of his goals recently and when he did that, it was as good as scoring himself.

"Carlton was brilliant in the second half against Everton two weeks ago and last weekend against Sunderland he was everywhere. He has been great.

"This season he has been very unfortunate with his physical problems, but he has a lot to give the national team.

"His knees were a problem, but he's getting better and better and I'm expecting him to score every time now."

Subscribe to Football FanCast News Headlines by Email