Premier League

West Ham skipper Kevin Nolan backs Modibo Maiga and Mladen Petric to provide goals

Modibo Maiga: Yet to score for West Ham this season

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Kevin Nolan has insisted that West Ham have adequate cover to produce goals while Andy Carroll is sidelined.

The 24-year-old striker has yet to make an appearance for the Hammers since joining from Liverpool on a permanent deal worth £17.5m in the summer, and he is likely to be out until the New Year after a new foot injury.

Modibo Maiga has come under fire for failing to find the net in four starts this season and new signing Mladen Petric is short of match fitness, but Nolan insists the pair will soon start to hit the target.

But following the 0-0 draw at Southampton, West Ham's third straight game without a goal, Hammers captain Nolan said: "None of us have criticised Maiga, that's the main thing.

"I don't think anyone has really criticised him, I think it's just the fact when you miss someone like Andy, you're going to talk about Andy, instead of the centre-forward who's actually playing.

"If he doesn't come in and score goals then it's all 'he's no Andy Carroll'. There's not many people like Andy Carroll, maybe Rickie Lambert, but I think they're a bit different here and there.

"Modibo Maiga's got other strengths, he's very good in the air for such a short lad. He's good on the floor. Very technically gifted, when he's in front of goal he's very calm.

"We've just got to start getting him those opportunities, he's been working so hard I'm delighted with him. I think he's been fantastic for us. He's been thrown in at the deep end.

"This boy has come over from Sochaux, he was upset that he wasn't playing a lot, he's knuckled down over the summer and he's getting his chance. Now it's up to him to start putting him in the back of the net.

"Petric has been training with us but obviously he is a bit behind because he hasn't had a full pre-season.

"He's in great shape coming back, don't get me wrong, but it's just football fitness. He has got to get used to that and hopefully we will have him there or thereabouts for Everton, maybe to come off the bench.

"It is a great acquisition for us - we are very pleased we have got him. He brings a lot of quality and something different. He is another one that we have got to get used to."