Cole pledges future to West Ham

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The Independent Online

Injured England striker Carlton Cole has pledged his future to West Ham.

The 26-year-old World Cup hopeful has been linked with a January move away from Upton Park, with Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham all reportedly interested.

But Cole's only target is to make a swift recovery from the knee ligament injury he suffered against Burnley a fortnight ago and help the struggling Hammers avoid the drop.

Cole told the Evening Standard: "I haven't heard anything about a move. I love West Ham. I just want to get back to playing and I can't do anything while I'm injured.

"I have to build up the muscles and do some rigorous rehab work to protect the knee and it is going to be like that for the rest of my career.

"Hopefully, I will be back some time in January. I just need to get back fit and help the Hammers."

That day cannot come soon enough for manager Gianfranco Zola, who saw West Ham slip into the relegation zone on Saturday with a 1-0 defeat at Birmingham.

Cole has scored seven goals in seven league appearances this season.

The Hammers tackle fellow strugglers Bolton tomorrow night having not won away from Upton Park since the opening day of the season.

But Cole is convinced that Zola is the man to guide West Ham to safety.

"It's natural when things are going bad that it's all doom and gloom but the manager is the best I have worked with," said Cole, who has also played under Jose Mourinho and Alan Curbishley.

"He's put faith in the players and we're trying to respond. We're just not getting the rub of the green at the moment but we're working very hard."

West Ham will be without Mark Noble, who was sent off at St Andrew's at the weekend, and they have injury doubts over Luis Jiminez and Matthew Upson.

Kieron Dyer could return to the starting side after hitting the post during an impressive appearance off the bench against Birmingham.

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