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Tristan: ""I'll fire Irons out of trouble''

PUBLISHED: 11:28 24 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:54 05 October 2010

By JONATHAN CLEGG DIEGO TRISTAN insists he is capable of firing the goals to lift West Ham away from relegation trouble as the former Spain striker closes on a first Premier League start. Tristan scored his first goals for the club with a clinical double

By JONATHAN CLEGG

DIEGO TRISTAN insists he is capable of firing the goals to lift West Ham away from relegation trouble as the former Spain striker closes on a first Premier League start.

Tristan scored his first goals for the club with a clinical double for the reserves against Chelsea last week and is finally approaching full fitness following his switch to Upton Park in October.

The 32-year-old had been contemplating retirement after an unhappy spell in Italy's Serie A ended with his release from relegated Livorno in the summer, but resolved to continue playing when he was invited to England for a trial by Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola.

The former Deportivo La Coruna star, who established a reputation as one of the most feared marksmen in Europe during a seven-year career with the Spanish club, convinced Zola that he was still capable of playing at a high level and earned a one-year contract with West Ham.

Now Tristan believes he is ready to make a major impact for the Hammers after sharpening his finishing skills in the club's reserve side.

He said: "For a striker, goals are always important for your confidence, even if it is a reserve game because goals are the lifeblood for every striker.

"I am working well and feeling better every day in training and although I've not had the chance to play every week, it was a good chance for a run-out.

"I am satisfied with my progress. It is fine playing for the reserves, but my aim is to be out there playing every weekend. I hope to have a run-out and do my bit to help the team."

West Ham's struggles in front of goal have seen the club slip into the Premier League drop zone following an unlucky defeat by Aston Villa last weekend.

Tristan made his second substitute appearance of the season against Villa, but with Carlton Cole struggling for form and Craig Bellamy's future uncertain, he could be set for a bigger role in the coming weeks.

And the former Spain hitman admits he is eager to grasp his opportunity when the chance arises.

"It is important to be ready for when the team needs me and I hope I can make a contribution with my goals," Tristan said. "I know that Carlton Cole and Craig Bellamy are doing very well but I want to have my chance and I hope to get it soon."

Hammers assistant boss Steve Clarke has revealed that Tristan is pressing for an extended run in the side, but warned that he may have to wait until January to crack the starting line-up.

Clarke said: "He's been on the bench in games and [last week's] reserve game was the best he has done since he came across. From our point of view, that's pleasing, but he's not quite ready to start.

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