Carlton Cole back for West Ham by the end of the month

West Ham's leading scorer Carlton Cole will be back by the end of January according to boss Gianfranco Zola.

West ham's leading scorer Carlton Cole will be back by the end of January according to boss Gianfranco Zola.

The seven-goal striker has been missing since picking up a knee injury against Burnley in late November and his return would be a major boost to the club.

"They're talking about towards the end of the month, but we'll see," said Zola, who is keen not to rush Cole back into the side.

"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, hopefully."


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The East End side are down to the bare bones up front with Zavon Hines injured, Dean Ashton retired and with the news that Guillermo Franco is set to be out for a few weeks with a muscle strain, Cole's return to the team is eagerly anticipated in east London.

"His recovery is vital," said Zola, who was keen to praise the abilities of his star striker.

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

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

He may also have a new strike partner to accompany him as Zola refused to rule out a move for a striker.

Unsettled Premier League duo James Beattie and Benni McCarthy have been linked with a move to West Ham and although Zola would not name names, he admitted he is in the market of another forward.

"We are looking for something, but I don't want to talk too much about it," he said.

"We'll see what happens.

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