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West Ham striker Cole hoping to return in January

West Ham striker Carlton Cole has revealed he hopes to return to action next month despite reports of a long-term lay-off.

Cole has been out of action since suffering a slight tear to his posterior cruciate ligament in the 5-3 win over Burnley on November 28, and there had been suggestions he could be unavailable until March.

However, having undergone tests, it has now been revealed that it will be a case of strengthening the muscles in the knee and he feels he could be playing again before the end of January.

"I have done my PCL," he told Goals on Sunday. "It's a ligament behind your knee and they say you don't really need it if your muscles are strong. It protects it, but I have done a little damage to it - it's not torn fully.

"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.

"It was welcoming news when I got told by the specialist and hopefully I can focus on getting back fit and scoring goals."

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