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By ESPN Staff
Dec 12, 2006

Chelsea lose Joe Cole to stress fracture

Chelsea suffered a blow ahead of Wednesday night's vital Premiership clash with Newcastle as England midfielder Joe Cole was ruled out of their festive programme with a foot injury.

A scan revealed 25-year-old Cole had suffered a minor stress fracture of the foot.

The former West Ham midfielder has been dogged by injury so far this season, with a knee problem keeping him out of regular action for two months.

His comeback was curtailed when he missed the trip to Manchester United after suffering pain in his foot.

The problem persisted and the Barclays Premiership champions gave Cole a scan which has revealed a stress fracture, which is likely to keep him out until well into January.

Meanwhile, Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is convinced he and attacking partner Andriy Shevchenko can be a hit.

The Ukrainian has struggled for form since his £30.8million move to west London from AC Milan in the summer, and was substituted in the Blues' 1-1 draw with Arsenal on Sunday.

But Ivory Coast striker Drogba, who in contrast has banged in 14 goals this season, added: 'He needs to adapt to the way the team plays and to the league.

'That is not the most easy thing to do. But it is going well, he makes them for me to score and I make them for him to score.

'Sometimes it is difficult to find each. I want to do something, he's suspecting something else but that comes with time.'

Chelsea's draw with Arsenal leaves them eight points behind Barclays Premiership leaders Manchester United, a gap they can cut to five if they beat Newcastle at Stamford Bridge tomorrow night.