West Ham seek lift from World Cup contenders

Gianfranco Zola believes competition for a place in the England World Cup squad can only help West Ham climb the Premier League table.

Goalkeeper Robert Green, centre-back Matthew Upson and striker Carlton Cole have all been involved with Fabio Capello's squad during the qualifying campaign. The Hammers last won on the opening day of the campaign and are currently second from bottom.

Zola feels his team, who host Arsenal on Sunday, can benefit as the players look to impress and secure a place on the plane to South Africa.

"They know that Capello will be looking for them in the season and the way they perform for their clubs," Zola said. "That is a very good point for me as they know they have to perform well if they want to be there. The competition they have in front is tough, but that is the good point about that. You have to be competitive in this world and have to be focused to do that."

Meanwhile, the former Birmingham chairman David Gold, who has been linked with a buy-out of West Ham, is hoping he still has a role to play at St Andrew's.

"I am available to help if I can be of any help. I don't think anybody can question my affection for the club," he said. "Whether anything happens, I don't know. Matters are up in the air and my situation is absolutely clear.

"I was surprised, really, with the announcement [of the sale] the other week and I'm just waiting for the final outcome."

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