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By ESPN Staff

West Ham confirm Carlton Cole blow

West Ham have revealed top scorer Carlton Cole does not require surgery on a knee ligament injury picked up last weekend, although the striker is set to be sidelined "for a number of weeks''.

The England international, who has scored seven times for the Hammers this season, picked up the injury during Saturday's 5-3 Premier League win against Burnley and is set to miss a number of key games over the Christmas period.

Cole is certainly out of this weekend's visit of champions Manchester United to Upton Park, with youngster Zavon Hines expected to deputise.

A statement on West Ham's website read: "Cole will not need surgery on his right knee...and, having been closely assessed in recent days, will start his rehab with the aim of being back as soon as possible.''

This weekend's match against United precedes crucial games at Birmingham and Bolton, and home fixtures against Chelsea and Portsmouth.

Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola is also set to be without Switzerland midfielder Valon Behrami for around three weeks after undergoing minor surgery on a knee injury, while defender Matthew Upson is struggling with a hamstring problem.

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