james collins

Ones to Watch

by Kate Smith

A closer look at the Hammers key men.

James Collins
The Welshman returned to West Ham last summer after leaving for Aston Villa back in 2009. Since his return the big defender has been in fine form this season and enjoyed a fruitful start to the Hammers’ FA Cup campaign where he bagged a brace against Manchester United.

Kevin Nolan
After spending a decade with Bolton Wanderers, Nolan moved north to join Sunderland’s north east rivals, Newcastle United in 2009. During his time with the Magpies the influential skipper led them to promotion from the Championship at the first time of asking and proved to be a thorn in the side of the Black Cats with his habit of scoring in Tyne-Wear derbies. Former United boss Sam Allardyce took Nolan to Upton Park in the summer of 2011 and gave him the captain’s armband following the departure of Matthew Upson.  This season Nolan has notched five goals, including a late equaliser during Sunderland’s game against the Hammers earlier this season.

Carlton Cole
Striker Cole has been with West Ham since sealing a move from Chelsea back in 2006. During his time at Upton Park he has picked up seven England caps after Fabio Capello handed him his debut in 2009. The 29 year-old has made over 200 appearances for the club and struck  59 goals. This season he inspired the Hammers comeback against Chelsea in early December, where he cancelled out Juan Mata’s opening goal before United romped home 3-1 winners.