Tristan vows to seize his chance

EXCLUSIVE: Diego Tristan insists he is ready to answer West Ham's striker crisis

EXCLUSIVE

By JONATHAN CLEGG

Diego Tristan insists he is ready to answer West Ham's striker crisis and shoulder the goalscoring burden after the Hammers were hit by a double blow to their forward line-up.

The club's attacking options suffered a significant hit this week as leading scorer Carlton Cole was sidelined for two weeks with an ankle sprain, while injured hitman Dean Ashton revealed he will miss the rest of the season following a second operation on his own ankle injury.


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That leaves Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola desperately short of firepower ahead of Saturday's trip to Bolton and a crucial FA Cup replay at Middlesbrough on Tuesday night.

But former Spain ace Tristan has vowed to pick up the slack by replacing Cole as the club's No1 target man.

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The 33-year-old has yet to start a first-team game for the Hammers, but seems certain to be handed a chance after replacing Cole against Boro last weekend.

And Tristan is confident he will grasp the opportunity to show that he is a Premier League performer.

He said: "I have not played much up to this moment, but I hope that now I can play - I'm totally convinced of my abilities.

"I have always played [in my career] and it's not something you forget. I'm getting used to being a part of the team and to English football, which is very quick and played at tremendous speed.

"It is difficult for technical players because the referees never blow the whistle. But I hope I can show my abilities."

England striker Cole is unlikely to be back for next week's trip to the Riverside, but the 25-year-old should be available for a possible FA Cup quarter-final at Everton next month.

Ashton will not feature again this season after the striker admitted that he will adopt a cautious approach to rehabilitation.

He said: "I'm looking to get myself back for pre-season now. I don't want to come back unless I'm right.

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