Portsmouth is the target for a Cole return

WEST HAM striker Carlton Cole is looking to make his long-awaited return from injury by booking his place for the trip to relegation rivals Portsmouth on January 26, though he is eager for a place on the bench at Aston Villa on Sunday! The 26-year-old Eng

WEST HAM striker Carlton Cole is looking to make his long-awaited return from injury by booking his place for the trip to relegation rivals Portsmouth on January 26, though he is eager for a place on the bench at Aston Villa on Sunday!

The 26-year-old England international has been missing since injuring his knee during the 5-3 victory over Burnley back in December, and in the seven ga-mes since that day, the Ham-mers have struggled.

But now Cole has returned to training and though cautious, manager Gianfranco Zola is hoping to see his top scorer back sooner, rather than later.

"His recovery is vital," confirmed the manager. "He is such an important player not only in terms of goals and what he gives to the team, but it would be a huge boost for the others.


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"I look forward to seeing him play soon with us."

Cole has grabbed seven goals so far this season, the last being from the penalty spot during that victory over Burnley.

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But it is his presence that has been so sorely missed. He has the ability to hold the ball up and bring others into the game, while his partnership with Mexican striker Guillermo Franco was also beginning to flourish.

Both remain on the injured list, but it seems as though it is Cole who is likely to return first out of the pair.

"They're talking about towards the end of the month, but we'll see," said Zola.

"We're not putting pressure on him. We want him, when he comes back, to be fit for the whole season and for the World Cup too hopefully.

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