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West Ham boss Curbishley delighted with goal scorer Cole

West Ham boss Alan Curbishley is hoping Carlton Cole has turned the corner in his career after scoring again last night in their 2-1 Carling Cup victory at Coventry City.

Coventry, conquerors of Manchester United in the previous round, seemed set to make it two Premier League scalps on the trot when Jay Tabb nodded them into a precious lead midway through the second half.

However the Hammers, struggling against a mounting injury list, clawed their way back onto level terms within four minutes thanks to Luis Boa Morte's deflected shot and then, with the tie seemingly set for extra-time Cole popped up to finish Coventry off.

"Carlton has had a difficult time and he needs to be given a run of games," said Curbishley of the former Chelsea forward.

"He has got a bit lost over the last couple of years but he's now grabbing his chance.

"I hope to give Carlton a few games and the goals will give him a bit more confidence."

Victory was about all Curbishley could take out of a dreadfully disappointing performance.

However, the Hammers boss knows his side are having to cope with massive injury problems at present.

Indeed, Cole might only regard himself as fifth choice striker, behind the likes of Dean Ashton, Craig Bellamy, Henri Camara and Bobby Zamora. Yet the former Chelsea player is the only one left standing at present.

"I think he finds it easier to play up front on his own," said Curbishley.

"Carlton has all the attributes you need but maybe he just needs to make sure he doesn't go missing and switch off."

Curbishley confirmed that both Anton Ferdinand and Hayden Mullins had suffered hamstring and knee injuries, only adding to the Hammers' fitness woes ahead of Sunday's Premier League encounter with struggling Bolton.

Ferdinand seems highly unlikely to be involved given the difficulty he was having even walking as he made his way out of the stadium.

"I'm a bit down about the performance but I will take the result," said Curbishley, who admitted his side were outplayed for long periods.

"It was our worst performance of the season, which makes it easy to explain how the game panned out.

"We never looked at it at all. I was just hoping we would fashion something out and thankfully we did because I wasn't looking forward to extra time."

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Tribal Football Staff

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