Cole on brink of Cup record

Left-back could be the first player in over 100 years to pick up five winners' medals
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Cole has picked up winners' medals on four occasions – in 2002, 2003 and 2005 with Arsenal and in 2007 with Chelsea – which equals the achievements of players such as Mark Hughes and Ryan Giggs, of Manchester United, from the modern era. But you have to go back to 1891 and Jimmy Forrest of Blackburn Rovers to find the last player to win the FA Cup five times.

It will come as no surprise that Cole was unable to name the three men with five FA Cup winners' medals, the others besides Forest in 1891 being Charles Wollaston, who won his fifth in 1878 and Arthur Kinnaird, who did it in 1882. But the Chelsea and England defender claimed there is every chance that he will break the record and add a few more. Cole said: "This is my sixth final. I've won four and lost to Liverpool [in 2001]. I've got the chance to make history and that means such a lot to me. The FA Cup will always be special. I've had so many great occasions in the final. The build-up and the atmosphere are always brilliant and being English, it's one of the best trophies you can win.

"It would be great to get a fifth winners' medal but I'm only 28 and hopefully there will be many more. Six, seven, why not? Every footballer wants to win medals but to actually hold the record would be a very, very proud moment for me. But I'm not taking anything for granted because we know Everton will give us a very tough game."

Cole has been outstanding this season, which he puts down to finally being fully fit for the first time since he arrived at Chelsea in 2006. The left-back has been carrying an ankle injury for a couple of years, a problem he picked up in an Arsenal reserve game shortly before his acrimonious move across London.

Cole said: "I'm definitely playing the best football of my time at Chelsea. I feel fit. I came here with a bad ankle injury and I couldn't play my best. But I never wanted to miss a game because I knew they had Wayne Bridge waiting to play, so every week when I didn't do well I'd want to be in the team the following game because I wanted to show I could do better.

"Now I feel fit, the medical staff have looked after me well and when you're fit and enjoying football, you play with more confidence. I feel very confident at the moment. I'm getting forward more and, without making excuses, that was down to the bad ankle. I couldn't run. The ankle was always swollen and it did make it hard. Now I'm fit and my ankle is fine."

Cole may find added competition for his place next season as Chelsea moved closer to a £18m transfer for CSKA Moscow's Yuri Zhirkov. Reports from Russian say the left-sided 25-year-old has agreed a four-year deal to be announced at the end of their domestic season.

Medals of honour: Multiple winners


Charles Wollaston (The Wanderers 1872, 73, 76, 77, 78), Arthur Kinnaird (Wanderers 1873, 77, 78, Old Etonians 1879, 82), Jimmy Forrest (Blackburn Rovers 1884, 85, 86, 90, 91)


Joe Lofthouse (Blackburn 1884, 85, 90, 91) Mark Hughes (Man Utd 1985, 90, 94, Chelsea 1997), Ray Parlour, David Seaman (Arsenal 1993, 98, 2002, 03), Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane (Man Utd 1994, 96, 99, 2004), Ashley Cole (Arsenal 2002, 03, 05, Chelsea 07)