No first-team guarantees for Chelsea's Joe Cole

Coach Carlo Ancelotti insists Joe Cole will be a Chelsea player next season even though he cannot guarantee him regular first-team football.

The Italian coach will leave Cole on the bench for tomorrow's FA Cup fourth-round tie against Preston at Deepdale.

The England midfielder's current contract at Stamford Bridge expires in the summer and talks over a new deal have yet to reach a conclusion.

The main stumbling block is understood to be Cole's desire for regular first-team football as opposed to a massive hike in his salary.

But while Ancelotti insists the player will still be at the club next season, like the rest of his squad, he cannot guarantee the 28-year-old a regular place in the starting line-up.

"No, I cannot guarantee to Joe Cole that he'll play for Chelsea in every game," said Ancelotti. "I cannot guarantee that to any of my players.

"I never guarantee that to my players, even the big players. How can a manager guarantee that to the players? That's impossible.

"I don't have any news on his contract. He will stay at Chelsea next year. I'm 100% clear.

"I don't like to speak about him all the time. He will be in the squad for next year, as I say.

"It's my aim. It's the aim of the club to keep him in the squad because Joe Cole is an important player, a very professional player, he has a lot of quality and is young.

"He is a player of the national team. He is English. For these reasons, we want to keep him in the squad.

"But I want to keep out maybe Joe Cole and Florent Malouda tomorrow. The team will be: Hilario, Ferreira, Alex, Terry, Zhirkov, Belletti, Ballack, Lampard, Deco, Anelka and Sturridge.

"I think that we have all the players available to play. Only Ashley Cole is out because he has a problem with his ankle."

But Ancelotti revealed Ghana's Michael Essien will be out for up to six weeks after returning home from the African Nations Cup with a knee injury after the midfielder sustained medial ligament damage in training.

The 27-years-old will miss Chelsea's title showdown with Arsenal and their Champions League last-16 clash with Inter Milan in Italy.

Ancelotti is hoping Essien's knee will respond to treatment but admitted it was bad news.

"He had a tear in his meniscus and has to stay out for four to six weeks. I hope four, but maybe six," confirmed Ancelotti.

"In January, Essien wasn't going to be here anyway because he was at the African Nations Cup. It's not good news, but I think that we will do a good job again."

After Leeds' triumph over Manchester United and Reading's success over Liverpool, Ancelotti is mindful of the threat posed to the holders by Championship side Preston.

The side are now managed by Darren Ferguson, son of Manchester United's Sir Alex, and Ancelotti expects the North End boss to have asked his father for some advice.

"I don't know Darren," added the Italian. "It's a good reason to meet him tomorrow. I think it's possible he'll ask his father about us. Like a father, Alex can give him some advice or opinion about our play. That's normal.

"I don't know Preston very well, but I'm sure they will try to do hard work on the pitch and try to do the best.

"Because the FA Cup is the oldest competition in the world, I think that every team, also the small teams, want to do their best in this competition.

"The FA Cup is a very important competition here. There were strange results in the last round and we don't want to have a strange result in this round. It's an important aim for this season and we have to try to win."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London