West Ham’s Cole keeps up his lucky streak

Carlton Cole took his season’s tally to 10 with a double against Burnley, but he had a little shred of luck along the way.

CARLTON COLE must love the Bobby Moore end at Upton Park.

Already this season he has seen the tamest of shots creep through the legs of Birmingham’s Ben Foster in the Carling Cup semi-final, while his famous air shot against Wolves at the same end resulted in Ronald Zubar putting through his own net in the 2-0 home win over Wolves.

The big striker was at it again on Monday night against Burnley with a double strike that took his season’s tally into double figures. But it was not without another huge slice of luck in front of the West Ham fans at that end of the stadium.

There were 48 minutes on the clock when Mark Noble played a ball up for the darting Cole. The England man was fractionally offside and so got away with that, but then his lack of control saw it run too close to goalkeeper Lee Grant.

The two collided and the ball fell on to Cole’s arm for let-off number two and then while he lay on the ground the ball sat up nicely for him to sweep into the net.

Just a minute later and the other side of the former Chelsea hitman reared its head. Once more it was a delightful ball from Noble that put him away. This time he was not offside and with power and precision, he thumped the ball into the roof of the net for his 10th goal of the campaign and West Ham’s decisive third strike of the match.

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Cole was delighted to grab his two goals, though he was slightly embarrassed by the first one.

“I can’t believe I celebrated the first goal really!” he laughed. “It was a bit embarrassing, but these things happen and every goal counts whether it comes off my shin or whether it’s a bobbler, I don’t care as long as it goes in.”

It was the clash against Burnley last season which seemed to be turning point for Cole. The striker had worked his way into the England squad and had already scored six goals by November when the Clarets came to Upton Park.

Cole grabbed a penalty to take his tally to seven, but an injury picked up in the same game left him out for a month and on his return he was unable to find that same golden streak of form.

The striker has been in and out of the starting line-up this season, clocking up 13 substitute appearances as well as 19 starts during the campaign, but he now seems to be the preferred choice as the lone striker in Avram Grant’s 4-3-3 formation.

Cole is happy with his form, but with half of his goal tally coming in cup competitions, he is keen to improve his league tally as well.

“I’m on 10 goals this season, but I really want to convert that into the league,” he insisted. “That’s where it counts at the moment, because we really want to be a Premier League outfit next season.”

Burnley could have provided a banana skin for West Ham on Monday, but the 27-year-old, who now has 41 goals in 154 appearances in claret and blue was impressed by the attitude the team showed.

“Everyone showed a professional attitude against Burnley, right up to the top,” he insisted. “From the senior players all the way down to the young players like Freddie Sears.

“I thought he was great. He showed good endeavour and great ability and then he got a goal in the end. I’m really happy for him, but even the players that came on as subs really dug in and that’s what we need, everyone pulling in the same direction.

“Everyone has to play their part this season because this is going to be a massive team effort.”

One player who Cole has not played alongside is Thomas Hitzlsperger and he believes his influence could be enormous for the rest of the campaign.

“It’s fantastic to have Thomas back,” said Cole. “He’s a great player, he shows what he can do in training and he’s going to be a massive asset for us.

“We always rely on Mark Noble, Radoslav Kovac and obviously Scotty Parker, but they’ve got a bit of support as well from a talented football player and hopefully he can continue his form.”

Cole is playing his part too and though both Freddie Piquionne and Victor Obinna are breathing down his neck on eight goals apiece, what price on the England man being the top scorer at Upton Park for the third season running – especially when he is kicking towards the Bobby Moore end!

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