posted on Oct, 8 2004 @ 07:49 AM
David O'Leary is hoping Aston Villa will be allowed to keep on-loan Chelsea striker Carlton Cole.
With Didier Drogba ruled out for up to five weeks and Adrian Mutu's relationship with coach Jose Mourinho worsening by the day, the Stamford Bridge
club are struggling for strikers.
Mikael Forssell could have been recalled from his loan spell at Birmingham but the Finn is also injured and Mourinho may now be forced to look to
Villa boss O'Leary was told that Cole would not be recalled to Stamford Bridge this season, but the Birmingham club are now unsure whether Chelsea
will hold to the deal.
"We were given assurances that Carlton Cole would not be recalled," said a Villa spokesman.
"Even though there is a clause in his contract which states Chelsea can take him back."
O'Leary has just Darius Vassell and Juan Pablo Angel available should Cole return to London.
The former Leeds manager is a big fan of Cole's and would be loathe to lose him.
"I want to make Cole a better player and he has improved in the short time he has spent with us," said O'Leary.
Having missed out on Southampton's James Beattie in the summer, the loss of Cole now two months into the season would represent a big setback to