Hammers hopeful over Cole

West Ham United manager Gianfranco Zola is hoping to have striker Carlton Cole back from injury by the end of the month.

Cole remains the Hammers' seven-goal leading scorer despite being sidelined since November with a knee injury.

Zola is hoping to have the England striker back in his ranks before the end of January as he looks to guide the struggling Hammers away from the lower reaches of the Premier League table.

"His recovery is vital," Zola told The Mirror."He is such an important player, not only in terms of goals and what he gives to the team.

"They are talking about towards the end of the month but we'll see. We're not putting any pressure on him.

"We want him when he comes back to be fit for the whole season and also for the World Cup hopefully."

Cole's last appearance was in the 5-3 win over Burnley at Upton Park on November 28 during which he found the net.

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