Thu, Oct

Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Shaka Hislop is hoping to make an impact against Iceland on February 28 as the competition for World Cup places heats up.

Hislop, who is benefiting from a regular run out for England Premier League outfit West Ham, is anxious to showcase his ability to national coach Leo Beenhakker.

Beenhakker, a former Real Madrid and Ajax coach, has used Dundee custodian Kelvin Jack as his first choice between the uprights but opted to give his supporting cast a chance for their upcoming friendly in London. Hislop, Coventry's Clayton Ince and Fulham's Tony Warner are all in the frame.

Hislop told the Express that all three custodians plan to make the most of the opportunity.

"We all want to stake a claim for the number one shirt," said Hislop. "Kelvin has held it for the last ten months and done well so it will be hard to displace him. But this is a chance for us to stake our claim for a place in the World Cup squad and the number one shirt at the same time."

Hislop also looks forward to catching up with his national colleagues for the first time since their historic qualifier in Bahrain on November 16, 2005.

"It is very good for the players to get back together," he said, "and there would obviously be a lot less pressure on everyone than last November.

"There is certainly a buzz in London at the moment. I have been doing lots of interviews in the English press and there is a lot of interest from the Caribbean community as well."

The 36-year-old goalkeeper insisted that he is in his best form for some time after his third successive clean sheet for his English Premiership employers on Saturday.

The visiting West Ham team held Bolton 0-0 to ensure a FA Cup replay against their high-flying rivals.

"I am enjoying (my football) much more than last season," said Hislop. "I feel like I am better prepared physically and fitter than the last time (I was in the squad). We are certainly on a good run of form from my point of view because we have kept clean sheets in our last three games although I haven't had a lot to do."

There were some misdirected long kicks from Hislop against Bolton-for which he put part of the blame on the soft pitch at the Reebok Stadium-but there were little scares for the venerable goalkeeper.

Hislop sang the praises of 21-year-old central defender Anton Ferdinand, who has been a pillar of strength for West Ham since their return to the top flight last summer.

The goalkeeper once shared a dressing room with Anton's older brother, England and Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand, and he insisted that the younger Ferdinand is on the same path.

"Anton is Rio's brother in every sense," said Hislop. "He has exactly the same qualities. He is never flustered, has a good eye for the game, reads the game very well and is comfortable on the ball and strong in the air.

"I am sure he will be every bit as successful (as Rio)."

Beenhakker should hope that Hislop can reproduce his West Ham form if given the opportunity against Iceland.