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Guillermo Franco tipped to have striking impact at West Ham

PUBLISHED: 17:25 30 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:58 05 October 2010

Gianfranco Zola believes new signing Guillermo Franco can become a 'massive player' in the Premier League

By JONATHAN CLEGG

West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola believes new signing Guillermo Franco can have a major impact in the Premier League and help the Hammers climb out of the drop zone.

Franco, 32, is still waiting to make his first appearance for the club after missing out on a place in the 18-man squad for the 3-1 defeat at Manchester City on Monday night.

The Mexico international moved to Upton Park as a free agent this month after failing to find a new club following his release from Villarreal last summer.

But the veteran hitman is ready to make his West Ham bow in this weekend's crucial clash with Fulham.

And Zola insists that Franco possesses the skills to become a "massive player" for the Hammers and prove that he is still a top-flight performer.

He said: "He's going to be a very good buy for us. Franco can have a very big impact because he knows the game very much and we need those kinds of player.

"We are a very young team and to have somebody that knows the game and reads the game like him is massive.

"He's a target player, he's got experience, he's got presence on the pitch - I'm really impressed with him. I think he's going to be a massive player and very important for us."

Zavon Hines could also be recalled for the match at the Boleyn Ground after the homegrown striker was surprisingly relegated to the bench for the trip to Manchester City.

Hines has emerged as a surprise first-team regular this season and West Ham missed his pace and direct running in a poor attacking performance on Monday night.

Indeed, Zola admits that the 20-year-old's high-octane displays and fiery attitude are reminiscent of Craig Bellamy, who tormented his former West Ham colleagues at Eastlands.

"Zavon Hines is giving us support up front, which is a total surprise for us - he's proving that he can be a very good alternative for us.

"I don't think he's got the pace of Craig Bellamy or the finishing yet, but this boy has got a lot of desire and he can really pester the opposition. He's playing very well and I'm expecting him to improve as well."

Hines' breakthrough campaign is also set to be rewarded by a call-up to Stuart Pearce's England Under-21 squad.

The Hammers academy graduate was born in Jamaica but is eligible to play for England despite being named in the full Jamaica squad for a recent friendly.


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