Cole Returns on Short Term Deal
By Tom Dowsett
Monday 14 Oct 2013 17:26:00
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Since becoming manager of West Ham United in June 2012 Sam Allardyce has had a habit of bringing back ex-players to Upton Park after they have spent a period away from East London. Never before has he brought back a player so soon after releasing them, though, having now done just that with the return of striker Carlton Cole, following much speculation after the close of the summer transfer window.

The manager has also brought back the likes of George McCartney, James Collins and Joe Cole for second spells at the club.

Allardyce's search for a striker appears to be over as the former Chelsea man is back, four months after leaving the Boleyn Ground, due to him not being able to find another club, despite interest from sides in England and France.

Big Sam has been wanting more firepower to bolster his options all summer but couldn't seem to agree a deal with any of his potential targets. Then came the news on 9 September that record signing Andy Carroll had suffered a fresh injury blow on his return to full training. The manager had to move quickly as the window had already closed and he is now only able to acquire free agents.

The day after confirming the news of Carroll's injury, the former Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers' boss signed Mladen Petric on a deal until the end of the season. However, with Petric still trying to regain match fitness, he now has someone else to fill the big void that Carroll has left.

Cole has signed an initial three-month deal back with the Hammers until January 13 with the possibility of an extension after that period.

He told "I'm in an excellent mood, am happy to be back and can't wait to get working with the lads again and start my season off. I've been working hard with the strength and conditioning coach Mathew Monte-Colombo in the gym and he's been really hands-on with me to get me up to standard to train with the team and get my match-fitness up as quickly as possible with a view to signing. I feel fit and raring to go and it's time to start knocking on the manager's door to get some games under my belt."

Cole scored 59 goals in 237 appearances during his six year stay with the Irons after joining from Chelsea in 2006 and will hope to make it a second debut to remember if selected against Manchester City this weekend. The signing also means that Allardyce can switch to a 4-4-2 formation if he chooses to change his tactics.

With Caroll having taken the strikers' usual No.9 shirt, Cole will now wear No.24.

With Joe Cole also in contention for team selection on Saturday, having returned from a hamstring injury in the 3-0 win at white Hart Lane last time out, the home fans can sing the "Cole"  chant to either or both of the club favourites when they take to their seats for the evening kick-off.

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