Cole welcomes competition

Hammers striker ready to challenge Carroll for first-team place

Carlton Cole: Thinks competition with Carroll will improve his own game

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West Ham striker Carlton Cole is adamant that Andy Carroll's arrival at the club will have a positive impact on his own progress.

Cole made way for Carroll, who has signed a season-long loan deal with the Hammers, in the 3-0 victory over Fulham last time out.

Although Carroll is now facing up to six weeks on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury, Britain's most expensive footballer will likely be the first-choice frontman when he returns.

But Cole believes the fact he will now have to fight for playing time means he will improve as a player.

"Every year, you have to have people challenging for places because it is healthy for the club," Cole told West Ham's official website.

Complacent

"I'm a guy who believes in that and you could get complacent if you know you are going to play week in, week out.

"It's better to always be on your toes and I welcome a challenge like Andy Carroll because he is one of the best target men around in the Premier League and it's just going to reinvigorate me to be a better player."

Cole also welcomed the return of Yossi Benayoun after the midfielder returned to Upton Park on a loan deal from Chelsea.

He added: "Yossi is a brilliant character and a great player as well - we all know that.

"He has finally come home and he's back where I believe he belongs. I played for a season with him before he went off to Liverpool but he was really influential around the players and the team.

"I was sad to see him leave so now he's back, I'm really happy."