Tag Archives: strikers

Demba Ba begs Rafa Benitez to play him and Fernando Torres up front together for Chelsea

Play me and Torres up front… we'll blast Chelsea back into the Champions League, insists Ba

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

14:45 GMT, 19 April 2013

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UPDATED:

15:16 GMT, 19 April 2013

Demba Ba has told Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez that he and Fernando Torres are ready to start up front together in Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash against Liverpool.

Benitez has rotated the two strikers in a 4-2-3-1 formation since Ba joined from Newcastle in January but the pair combined effectively in the second half of last weekend's 2-1 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City.

Benitez faces a selection dilemma with Torres desperate to start at his former club and Ba's form in front of goal making him hard to ignore – but the Senegalese insists they can play together.

Ba

Torres

Partners in crime Demba Ba (left) has said he wants to play with Fernando Torres (right) up front for Chelsea

He told the London Evening Standard:
'When he came on the pitch against City he helped me a lot. We caused
them problems so I think we could play together.

'We combined against Brentford earlier
in the competition, too, so I don’t believe it would be a problem for
us. Most of the time we have to fight against the two central defenders
on our own. If you have an extra body there, it makes it easier.

'This is also very important in
football, to be able to control the game. I would understand if Fernando
wants to start against Liverpool. We’re not making the decision but I
would understand if he does.

One or the other: Ba (left) has rarely played with Torres, the two usually used as like-for-like replacements

One or the other: Ba (left) has rarely played with Torres, the two usually used as like-for-like replacements

Chelsea

Meanwhile, Benitez insists he is
focused only on the immediate future and not his past with Liverpool as
he prepares to take his Chelsea side to Anfield.

In a press conference on Friday the
Spaniard declined to assess Liverpool since his departure in June 2010
or to talk about events at Anfield ahead of his first return as an
opposing manager.

'I have a lot of respect, but I have to concentrate on my team,' Benitez said.

'I don't want any misunderstanding, so
I will concentrate just on Chelsea and the game and try to enjoy it,
especially if we can win.'

Job at hand: Rafa Benitez insists he is only focused on Chelsea ahead of his return to Liverpool

Job at hand: Rafa Benitez insists he is only focused on Chelsea ahead of his return to Liverpool

Benitez is expected to receive a warm
welcome in the week which marked both his 53rd birthday and the 24th
anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

He spent six years at Anfield, helping
Liverpool to the 2005 Champions League in his first season, the FA Cup,
the Community Shield and European Super Cup, while the Reds finished
second in the Premier League in 2008-09.

His family home remains on Merseyside
and he supports the campaigners in their fight for justice for the 96
supporters killed at Hillsborough in 1989.

His is a lasting bond with Liverpool, but Benitez's aim is to defeat his former club.

'I'm a professional and I am committed
with Chelsea until the end of the season, to win, to achieve our
targets,' said Benitez, who is out of contract at the end of the
campaign.

Flying the flag: Benitez is still a hugely popular figure at Anfield, having won them the Champions League in 2005

Flying the flag: Benitez is still a hugely popular figure at Anfield, having won them the Champions League in 2005

'I was there for six years, winning a lot of things together.

'They (Liverpool supporters) will
appreciate that, but at the same time they will try to support their
team and they will understand that I have to try to do my best and win.'

Benitez recently was quoted as saying
he wanted to return 'home' to Liverpool and that his wish was to move to
a top club, possibly in England next season.

That was interpreted by some as a possible return to Liverpool, but Benitez meant his family home.

For reasons of clarity, the Spaniard declined the opportunity to appraise Reds incumbent Brendan Rodgers.

'I have a lot of respect for Liverpool Football Club and all their managers,' he said.

'What I said clearly is Liverpool is
my home, my family is living there and because I don't want any
misunderstanding, I will not talk about the club, the position or the
manager's position or whatever. My family's there, it's my home.'

Jermain Defoe injured: Ruled out of Tottenham"s next three matches

Defoe blow for Tottenham as injury rules striker out of next three matches

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

12:39 GMT, 3 April 2013

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UPDATED:

13:03 GMT, 3 April 2013

Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe has suffered a muscle injury which will keep him out of the club's next three matches.

It's a massive blow for Andre Villas-Boas's side who are fighting for a place in next season's Champions League and face FC Basle on Thursday night in the Europa League quarter-final first leg.

Defoe – who has 14 goals for Spurs this season – will miss the home-and-away legs against Basle and a crunch Barclays Premier League match with Everton at White Hart Lane.

No go Defoe: The Spurs striker has been ruled out of the next three matches

No go Defoe: The Spurs striker has been ruled out of the next three matches

Next up for Tottenham…

FC Basle (home, tomorrow, Europa League)
Everton ( home, Sunday, Premier League)
FC Basle (away, April 11, Europa League)
Man City (home, April 21, Premier League)

The north London club have a tough run-in of fixtures, but Villas-Boas is hopeful Defoe will return in time for the clash with defending champions Manchester City on April 21.

The Spurs boss said: 'Jermain has a
muscle injury and that’s probably going to take him out for the next two
games and maybe Basle away.

Coming to Spurs' Ade: The Togolese striker is one option to lead the line

Coming to Spurs' Ade: The Togolese striker is one option to lead the line

Coming to Spurs' Ade: The Togolese striker is one option to lead the line

'If he can’t make Basle away he should be fit for the week that we prepare to play Manchester City. It’s a big blow. It’s the same muscle he had a small tear in last month, but it’s the other side (pelvic injury).

'It’s a big miss for us because he’s a player who represents a lot for us and he’s showed tremendous quality this season.

'You’ve seen us play with (Clint) Dempsey and (Gareth) Bale up front. We have been in periods where are strikers have been injured and we’ve coped with it – sometimes less successfully, sometimes more so.

'We’ll definitely have him back for the Man City game, so the negative of having an injury is not that bad.

'We’ll have the player back for the decisive moments of the season.

'He probably did it through a shooting exercise we set out prior to playing Swansea.’

Hair we go: Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Tottenham face FC Basle in the Europa League on Thursday night

Hair we go: Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Tottenham face FC Basle in the Europa League on Thursday night

Montenegro mayhem is nothing new for England

Montenegro mayhem is nothing new for England as Roy's boys return to Podgorica

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Back again: England have played in Podgorica before, in a qualifier for Euro 2012…

Back again: England have played in Podgorica before, in a qualifier for Euro 2012...

A picture of Bent in action features prominently in the programme for tomorrow's game but these days he cannot hold down at place at Aston Villa and among Roy Hodgson's big decisions ahead of his big night is who to pair with Rooney.

The stadium will rattle with noise. Pictures have been painted of a hostile reception from the local fans but if the last visit is anything to go by this will be nothing more sinister than a spirited reception for a newly-independent nation.

...and the home fans celebrated on the pitch after watching their team secure a draw

…and the home fans celebrated on the pitch after watching their team secure a draw

As so often in this part of the world, the football team has given the former Yugoslav states a platform to show who they are and what they stand form.

The people of Montenegro provide a warm welcome. The fervour inside the stadium is because this little team is proudly punching above its weight.

Scoring for fun: England will find it much tougher in Montenegro than they did in San Marino on Friday

Scoring for fun: England will find it much tougher in Montenegro than they did in San Marino on Friday

Teams emerge from a tunnel in the corner of this 12,000-capactiy ground, beneath the noisiest of the supporters.

The game in October 2011 culminated in a pitch invasion but this was due mainly to the euphoria of the team's progress into the play-offs.

What Hodgson can be sure of is that it will be uncomfortable and many of those in his team were not on the pitch the last time.

Red mist: It was in Montenegro in 2011 that Wayne Rooney was sent off for kicking out at Miodrag Dzudovoic

Red mist: It was in Montenegro in 2011 that Wayne Rooney was sent off for kicking out at Miodrag Dzudovoic

Red mist: It was in Montenegro in 2011 that Wayne Rooney was sent off for kicking out at Miodrag Dzudovoic

Branko Brnovic's team will be disciplined and tight at the back, reliant upon the star strikers Stevan Jovetic and Mirko Vucinic to provide the magic up front, perhaps pinch a goal which will turn the pressure on England.

How can they can cope That will be the test.

Rooney's red is a warning to them all. They must manage their frustration and they must think clearly amid the din.

FA Cup 2013: Giant-killings could end because of new FA Cup ball

FA Cup underdogs have been having a ball – but that could be about to change…

By
Simon Cass

PUBLISHED:

15:16 GMT, 18 February 2013

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UPDATED:

17:32 GMT, 18 February 2013

It is not just the balls that come out of the bag that those teams intent on FA Cup giant-killing will be concerned about.

Championship sides Blackburn, Millwall, Barnsley and Middlesbrough, along with League One Oldham, are all still dreaming of a trip to Wembley and a semi-final encounter with one of the Barclays Premier League big boys.

But with goalkeepers already having had to contend with an unpredictable Umbro FA Cup ball, those stoppers from further down the league now face the disadvantage of having to get used to the flight of the Nike Premier League ball from the final four of the competition onwards.

Cup Magic: But Colin Kazim-Richards' Blackburn Rovers, who knocked out Premier League Arsenal on Saturday, may have trouble with the Premier League ball, used in the FA Cup semi-finals onwards

Cup Magic: But Colin Kazim-Richards' Blackburn Rovers, who knocked out Premier League Arsenal on Saturday, may have trouble with the Premier League ball, used in the FA Cup semi-finals onwards

Unpredictable: Goalkeepers have had to get used to the ball for the earlier rounds, the Umbro Neo 2

Unpredictable: Goalkeepers have had to get used to the ball for the earlier rounds, the Umbro Neo 2

As part of the FA’s megabucks deal with Nike, from the semi-final of the Cup the ball used will be a de-branded version of the Maxim, which Premier League strikers have been lashing into the net all season and which top-flight keepers have been tipping around the post.

Having spent hours on the training ground trying to get to grips with the Umbro Neo 2 used so far in the competition, Football League keepers must now familiarise themselves with the Nike ball whose flight is second nature to the Premier League counterparts.

MK Dons goalkeeping coach, Paul Heald, who watched his keeper David Martin ship in three in Saturday’s defeat by Barnsley, explained: ‘We work all year with a certain match ball but for cup games we use Umbro balls which are totally different, move differently and have a different texture to them. Some people don’t realise that it is a big difference.

Knock-out: MK Dons keeper David Martin, left, conceded three goals in Saturday's cup loss to Barnsley

Knock-out: MK Dons keeper David Martin, left, conceded three goals in Saturday's cup loss to Barnsley

‘All the balls are made slightly
differently. The Premier League balls are different to the Football League
balls but the FA Cup balls just seem to travel quicker.

'They have got a
little bit more bounce and they shoot off the surface, especially on
wet surfaces, and move a lot sharper.

‘The
balls are different every year and the manufactures try and keep it
interesting. Even the way the leather is cut, the design is to make the
ball unpredictable.

'I take my hats off to young keepers. It is great for
the strikers and supporters but it is an absolute nightmare for
goalkeepers.’

All change: Any lower league side facing Robin van Persie in the semi-final will have to deal with the same ball, pictured above, that he has scored with 19 times in the Premier League this season

All change: Any lower league side facing Robin van Persie in the semi-final will have to deal with the same ball, pictured above, that he has scored with 19 times in the Premier League this season

There were
presumably plenty of sleepless nights for goalkeepers over the weekend
as 25 goals were scored in seven matches, suggesting the preparation on
the training pitch had not gone according to plan despite there being no
limit on how much you can practice with the ball.

Umbro’s technical specifications of their Neo 2 claim it features ‘just 14 panels to offer larger strike zones and a smoother, more accurate flight.’ Nike, by comparison, claim their Maxim’s Geo II Balanced technology ‘distributes pressure evenly for consistency and accuracy’ while it also features a ‘carbon-latex bladder for acceleration and superior air retention.’

But despite such space age technology, Heald certainly feels the advantage lies with the strikers in the modern game.

He said: ‘We have a laugh and a joke amongst keepers and say that outfield players, all they do is close their eyes, keep their head down, hit and hope and the ball does the rest.

'We say that all they do is swing the leg and hit the ball and the art is really in the goalkeeping.’

Roberto Mancini challenges Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero to score goals to win the Premier League

Now win us the title, Sergio! City boss Mancini challenges Aguero to score goals to catch rivals United

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

18:20 GMT, 17 February 2013

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UPDATED:

10:16 GMT, 18 February 2013

Roberto Mancini challenged Sergio Aguero to score the goals to wrestle the Barclays Premier League title from favourites Manchester United.

After seeing Aguero score twice in a 4-0 FA Cup win over Leeds, Mancini backed his striker to spearhead a late charge for the championship.

In the Cup spirit: Roberto Mancini is not giving up on winning the title just yet

In the Cup spirit: Roberto Mancini is not giving up on winning the title just yet

‘I hope Sergio will be like this from now to the end of the season, because if he is and our other strikers continue to score then the championship is not finished,’ he said.

With Malaga’s former Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini the latest to be linked with his job at the Etihad Stadium, an unlikely second successive title should be enough to save Mancini from the growing threat of being sacked.

‘It is possible we could be 15 points behind by the time we face Chelsea next Sunday, but I think we should always be confident in ourselves,’ Mancini added.

‘There was a stage where we lost seven points in three games and that can happen to other teams as well.

At the double: Sergio Aguero scored twice as Manchester City cruised past Leeds

At the double: Sergio Aguero scored twice as Manchester City cruised past Leeds

‘So, even when we’re 12 points behind at this moment, we should believe it can be done. At this moment, United deserve to stay there because they have been better than us and scored more goals, but this win against Leeds can influence what we do for the rest of the season and spark us into life.

‘We have been unlucky with injuries this season, but Gareth Barry should be ready for Chelsea, and we hope we have Vinny Kompany for that one as well. We will see tomorrow or Tuesday about Javi Garcia, but I don’t think it’s big problem with him, either.’

Three and easy: Carlos Tevez celebrates with Aguero and David Silva after scoring City's third goal

Three and easy: Carlos Tevez celebrates with Aguero and David Silva after scoring City's third goal

Neil Warnock completes a year in charge of Leeds on Wednesday, but had to contend with some travelling fans calling for his head.

‘I’m going to have to get used to that, but no-one wants it and I don’t think I deserve it after the year I’ve had here,’ he said.

‘The fans are so desperate to get back in the big time and when they see the opportunity gradually fading, the manager has got to be the scapegoat.

Spot on: Aguero scores a 15th-minute penalty against the Championship side

Spot on: Aguero scores a 15th-minute penalty against the Championship side

‘If we don’t go up, I think everyone knows I’m not going to be here. My contract is up at the end of the season, and there’s no way I want to stay in the Championship next year.

‘The further from promotion we get, the more the club will be looking out to see what they are going to do. Could I go before then I have spoken to them (the owners) at great length. If they think it will help them then I’m not against it — I think whatever is best for Leeds United really.’

Feeling the heat: Manager Neil Warnock is under pressure from Leeds fans

Feeling the heat: Manager Neil Warnock is under pressure from Leeds fans

Middlesbrough 1 Leeds 0: Curtis Main secures victory for Tony Mowbray"s side

Middlesbrough 1 Leeds 0: Main is Boro's hero as fans turn on Warnock

By
Colin Young

PUBLISHED:

22:31 GMT, 12 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

02:03 GMT, 13 February 2013

A boy signed on a free transfer from Darlington proved to be Middlesbrough's Main man.

Curtis Main's perfectly placed header eight minutes from time gave Middlesbrough their first win in six League games and their first victory on Teesside over Leeds in 21 years.

But the 20-year-old, who scored for the second game running since recovering from injury, was sent off by petty referee Keith Stroud in the dying minutes.

Helpless: Paddy Kenny's best efforts could not prevent defeat for Leeds

Helpless: Paddy Kenny's best efforts could not prevent defeat for Leeds

Main was booked twice, for encroaching and handball, and looked as astonished as his manager.

Mowbray said: 'The ref got it wrong.
It was not deliberate handball in a million years. Curtis has amazing
qualities and yet is such a young player who hasn't been educated.

But he is potentially a special
talent. Tonight he is disappointed, frustrated, annoyed and angry but he
got us a great winner.'

Leeds fans chanted 'Warnock, time to
go' at boss Neil Warnock, who reacted with sarcastic applause. He is
refusing to quit and blamed the defeat on his strikers following Luciano
Becchio's departure to Norwich.

Ross McCormack fluffed Leeds's best
chance and Warnock said: 'We have missed three open goals in three games
and all hell breaks loose. 'Unless I run on the pitch and put the
chances in I don't know what more I can do.'

Under fire: The pressure continues to grow on Leeds boss Neil Warnock

Under fire: The pressure continues to grow on Leeds boss Neil Warnock

Rhys Williams should have put
Middlesbrough in front with a fourth-minute back-post volley after a
Grant Leadbitter free-kick put him clear, but Leeds started to take
control after that.

David Norris hit wide and then warmed
the palms of Jason Steele after some neat interplay between McCormack and Steve Morison, while the in-form Luke Varney also drove
away from goal after cutting in from the left.

The home side managed to steady themselves somewhat after that, but were so nearly the architects of their own downfall 28 minutes in.

Paul Green played a hopeful long ball forward that was Steele's all day long but he got his feet wrong and slipped, leaving McCormack with an open goal six yards out. The Scotland international dallied, though, and when he got a shot away, Jonathan Woodgate had recovered sufficiently to deny his former club on the line.

That proved to be Leeds' last chance of the first half and they should have been behind by the time the interval came.

Although not as clear a chance as McCormack's, Faris Haroun got clean through in injury time off Josh McEachran's defence-splitting pass, but Paddy Kenny was quickly off his line to deny him on the edge of the area.

Matchwinner: But Curtis Main was sent off minutes after scoring

Matchwinner: But Curtis Main was sent off minutes after scoring

The first half had hardly been an end-to-end affair but it was in comparison to the start of the second, which was attritional at best.

Woodgate provided the best moment, showing impressive pace and awareness to block off McCormack's run to goal, but as has often been the case in the 33-year-old's career, injury forced him off midway through the half.

Leadbitter, the game's other class act, then curled an edge-of-the-box free-kick just wide of Kenny's right-hand post and that brought about a mini period of drama with Leeds forced to defend for their lives with 17 minutes left.

Relieved: Tony Mowbray watched his side win for the first time in 2013

Relieved: Tony Mowbray watched his side win for the first time in 2013

Kenny did well to deny Leadbitter down to his right and then combined with Sam Byram to deny Williams on the follow-up, with the keeper then darting across his line to pouch a McEachran header that should have been a forgone conclusion.

Boro seemed keen to take the initiative, though, and by bringing on Miller they took it. With nine minutes left his cross hung enough for Main to put a header back across Kenny's goal and into the top right-hand corner.

He was then dismissed by Keith Stroud for a combination of dissent and kicking the ball away but, even though Steele had to deny Habib Habibou, Boro were able to hold on without him.

Loic Remy injured for two months

Blow for QPR's survival hopes as 8m Remy faces TWO MONTHS on the sidelines with groin injury

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

15:22 GMT, 4 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:27 GMT, 4 February 2013

QPR fear that 8million striker Loic Remy could be out for two months with the injury he suffered in training last week which forced him to miss Saturday's 0-0 draw with Norwich.

The France international scored on his QPR debut in the 1-1 draw at West Ham after signing from Marseille during the transfer window.

Headache: Remy's injury leaves Redknapp short of options up front

Headache: Remy's injury leaves Redknapp short of options up front

Headache: Remy's injury leaves Redknapp short of options up front

Rangers boss Harry Redknapp was hoping that Remy could spearhead the club's survival bid as they look to bridge the six-point gap to safety in their remaining 13 games.

But now he faces the prospect of being without Remy for the next six games – including relegation clashes at Aston Villa and Southampton in March and possibly the visit of Wigan in April.

Redknapp initially said the injury was a tear after the Norwich game, but assistant manager Joe Jordan told the BBC it was a 'slight strain'.

Off to a flyer: Remy scored on his debut

Off to a flyer: Remy scored on his debut

'I have no idea how long he will be out. We will have to see how he is on Sunday and Monday,' Redknapp said.

'It was in the last minute of training, and he just struck a ball and felt it go.'

After failing to land Peter Crouch and Peter Odemwingie on deadline day Remy's injury leaves Bobby Zamora and Jamie Mackie as Redknapp's only fit first-team strikers.

Jermain Defoe injury leaves Tottenham in striking crisis

Defoe ankle injury leaves Spurs facing firepower crisis with Adebayor away

By
Rik Sharma

PUBLISHED:

16:20 GMT, 3 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:26 GMT, 3 February 2013

Jermain Defoe has picked up an ankle injury which could keep him out for up to three weeks.

The Tottenham forward sustained it in a 50-50 challenge with West Brom's Shane Long on Sunday afternoon.

Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas said Defoe will be sent for a scan to determine the extent of the damage and said he will be withdrawn from Roy Hodgson's England squad for the Brazil friendly.

Blow: Jermain Defoe could be out for up to three weeks after suffering an ankle injury

Blow: Jermain Defoe could be out for up to three weeks after suffering an ankle injury

Villas Boas said: 'I am extremely happy with the win – apart from the injury to Jermain Defoe.
'He rolled his ankle. He will have to have a scan to reveal the extent of the injury.

'Hopefully there is not a lot of ligament damage. If there is, he could be out for two to three weeks.

'Has he been withdrawn from the England squad Yes he has.'

The Tottenham manager tried to secure a new striker on deadline day but failed to negotiate a deal with Internacional for Brazil forward Leandro Damiao.

With Defoe out and Emmanuel Adebayor in Togo on Africa Cup of Nations duty, there are no strikers left at the club, bar youngster Harry Kane.

Clint Dempsey can play as a striker if necessary, although he prefers to feature in a supporting role.

Cut short: Defoe was subbed

Cut short: Defoe is helped off

Cut short: Defoe's afternoon was ended by the injury and he was helped off the pitch in great pain

Watching on: Roy Hodgson was at The Hawthorns to see the incident

Watching on: Roy Hodgson was at The Hawthorns to see the incident

Forward push: Clint Dempsey will likely have to fill in up front for Defoe

Forward push: Clint Dempsey will likely have to fill in up front for Defoe

Defoe's team-mate Gareth Bale secured a
precious away victory that boosts Spurs in the hunt for a Champions
League place – Andre Villas-Boas' side are now fourth.

The dismissal of Goran Popov in the 47th minute changed the game in
Tottenham's favour, though, and Bale duly secured all three points with a
spectacular solo goal.

Bale told Sky Sports 1: 'It's massive. We spoke before the game because
other results went our way yesterday and that gave us a big chance to
capitalise. Thankfully we did.

'I think all the lads worked very hard and they deserved the victory.'

No reinforcement: With Emmanuel Adebayor away, Andre Villas-Boas will regret not signing a striker

No reinforcement: With Emmanuel Adebayor away, Andre Villas-Boas will regret not signing a striker

Meanwhile, Germany international Lewis Holtby made his second Spurs appearance from the bench and revealed he is settling in well.

He said: 'The lads are all making it easy for me to play. It's a fantastic club and I enjoy coming in every day.

'It's a massive boost to get the three points away (from home). It's unbelievable.

'If we have games like today and get the three points then it's a massive relief. I'm just happy to be at the club.'

Bedding in nicely: Lewis Holtby is pleased with how things have gone so far for him at Tottenham

Bedding in nicely: Lewis Holtby is pleased with how things have gone so far for him at Tottenham

Carlton Cole latest: Norwich and Reading want West Ham striker

Norwich and Reading set to battle it out for Cole with Hammers striker up grabs

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

10:51 GMT, 12 January 2013

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UPDATED:

10:51 GMT, 12 January 2013

Norwich and Reading have joined the race to sign Carlton Cole with West Ham reportedly ready to listen to offers for the striker.

The one-time England international, however, is determined to stay at Upton Park and was said to be disappointed when he learned of the club's plans to cash-in on him, according to the Daily Mirror.

Cole's contract expires this summer and West Ham have added Marouane Chamakh and Wellington Paulista to their growing contingent of on-loan strikers this month with Andy Carroll soon to be fit again.

Furious: Cole has been told he can leave the club

Furious: Cole has been told he can leave the club

Cole has scored twice in 19 games this season and manager Sam Allardyce prefers both Chamakh and Carroll, despite Carroll scoring just once in 14 games for the east Londoners.

The 29-year-old moved to Upton Park from Chelsea in 2006 after loan spells at Wolves, Charlton and Aston Villa.

West Ham have also been linked with Manchester City striker John Guidetti.

City are keen for him to gain Premier League experience but Southampton and Fiorentina are also interested in the 20-year-old striker.

Andy Carroll of West Ham United shows his frustration during the Barclays Premier League

Marouane Chamakh of West Ham United looks on ahead of the FA Cup with Budweiser Third Round

Options: Carroll (left) and Chamakh (right) have both joined the Hammers on loan

Andre Villas-Boas admits he could still lose goalscorer Emmanuel Adebayor to the Africa Cup of Nations

'It's his choice': Spurs manager AVB admits he could still lose goalscorer Adebayor to the Africa Cup of Nations

By
Mark Bryans, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

19:17 GMT, 1 January 2013

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UPDATED:

00:39 GMT, 2 January 2013

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas was pleased to see Emmanuel Adebayor get his name on the scoresheet in the 3-1 win over Reading, but refused to rule out the possibility of losing the striker to the Africa Cup of Nations.

Adebayor scored Spurs' second goal as they recovered from an early Pavel Pogrebnyak header to secure a victory that takes them above Chelsea and into third place in the Barclays Premier League.

Tottenham skipper Michael Dawson levelled for the hosts with Clint Dempsey's deflected effort sealing the points late on, but it was Adebayor's goal after 51 minutes that stood out for Villas-Boas.

Big loss: Spurs face the prospect of losing Adebayor for the next two months to the African Cup of Nations

Big loss: AVB faces the prospect of losing Adebayor for the next two months to the African Cup of Nations

'It was important for him today to score,' he said. 'He had a couple of situations recently against Sunderland and Villa, it was important for him to get back into the goals.

'Strikers live off goals, it was important for him to score. You see him trying like Jermain Defoe, Clint, and how decisive he is also.

'They want to get in the box, they breathe off scoring goals and it will give him a boost for sure.'

Struggling: The Togolese international has only netted times this term for the White Hart Lane outfit

Struggling: The Togolese international has only netted three times this term for the White Hart Lane side

It was widely believed that Adebayor would stay at White Hart Lane as opposed to linking up with Togo ahead of the forthcoming African Nations Cup.

But Villas-Boas said he was still unsure over whether he would lose the former Manchester City striker in a fortnight's time and that the decision lies squarely with the player.

'It's a vulnerable situation, anything can happen,' he said. 'I've told you the player can still go, I understand it is still a possibility.

'It was always his choice, I'm not going to put pressure on him. We've left it to player to decide. If player wants to go, we respect the African Nations Cup.'

Adebayor (left) scored the second goal during Spurs' 3-1 victory over Reading today

Celebrate: Adebayor scored the second goal during Spurs' 3-1 victory over Reading today

Reading boss Brian McDermott saw his side put in a valiant effort against an in-form Spurs side and reckons Villas-Boas is building a good squad at White Hart Lane.

'I couldn't fault our players today,' he said. 'The discipline of the team, you have to come here with a certain way of playing and I thought we were going to get something today.

'You'd take a goal any time, it was a great free-kick and Pavel scored on rebound. They had plenty of possession, Andre has put a good side together, it has been building for a while, they have a really good chance – they're going to finish very, very high in this league.'

Andre Villas-Boas (Left) shares a joke with Reading manager Brian McDermott before today's game

Banter: Andre Villas-Boas shares a joke with Reading manager Brian McDermott before today's game

Pogrebnyak's early effort was his fourth league goal of the season but the Russian striker missed a glorious chance to level the match at 2-2 when he headed wide after Hugo Lloris had parried his initial shot.

McDermott bemoaned his side's luck and did not feel they deserved to lose 3-1.

'We had three opportunities at 2-1, if we'd got the second goal it could have gone either way,' he said.

'It is disappointing that one of the chances didn't go in, they were good opportunities – it wasn't really a 3-1 game, that didn't really tell the story of the game.'