Sam Allardyce spoke to the press ahead of Saturday's game at Hull City in his pre-match briefing at Chadwell Heath.
He revealed that Joe Cole will remain on the sidelines with his hamstring injury, but Stewart Downing could return to face the Tigers and that Carlton Cole may soon be rejoining the Club.
Morning Sam, On the injury side, will Joe Cole available for selection this weekend?
SA: "No Joe won't be available this weekend but Stewart Downing will which we're very pleased about. I'm always happy to have injured players come back into the squad. George McCartney played a good part of the game against Cardiff on Tuesday night which was good for him although he won't come back into the squad just yet as we want him to play another game for the Under-21s to help his match fitness. From an injury point of view we're only really looking at Joe and Andy Carroll. Joe's not really injured anymore but we're just being protective of him and think he needs some more training before he's available again which I would have thought would be next week."
Is the return of Downing a big boost?
SA: "Yeah he's trained all week and looks sharp. He was disappointed that it's kept him out for a few weeks, normally a dead leg it's a couple of days but because of the extra bleed it's been a few weeks. He's only been with us a short time and with him having missed a lot of pre-season with Liverpool it was about getting in as many games as possible into him. Obviously that's been halted with this injury but we're glad to have him back and he can look forward to getting some game time again."
There are headlines today suggesting Carlton Cole has signed a deal with the club. What's his current situation?
SA: "We've had Carlton training with us for a while now and as soon as he's fit enough to play there will be an offer of a short term contract on the table there's no doubt about that. That's why he's here with us and that's why we're trying to improve his fitness having missed pre-season. As soon as he's ok and suitable terms and conditions have been agreed, which is nothing do with me, then he'll join us for however long the contract is negotiated for."
Fitness aside, has his desire and his attitude impressed you?
SA: "He's been here on a day by day basis and one of the beauties of this football club is that this club's kept him fit for a long time during his career. Carlton has certain training programmes that were built to suit him and keep him available for a selection on a Saturday afternoon. It's always worked very well during the time I've been here.
Do you know how long the contract for Carlton might be?
SA: "No my focus is only on the first team squad and the players that are fit. The contract is done behind the scenes by the Chairmen and his agent so at the moment we're just concentrating on the game against Hull City on Saturday.
Will a deal for Carlton likely be days, weeks, months?
SA: "I think we're into days now. We'll play a couple of behind closed doors games just to let him get some match practice and then we'll take it from there."
Just a word on Andy Carroll. What's the latest on him?
SA: "He's improving day by day at the moment but we're not putting any timescales on this at all until we see how he's progressed with the specialists in Belgium. He'll be back with us as soon as possible."
Guy Demel's half-brother is Hull's Yannick Sagbo, were you aware of that?
SA: "Yes I was. Guy's tried to get us to sign him a few times. We've known that for a while and it's been a great move for him to get because he's been wanting to get to the Premier League for quite a while and Steve's given him that opportunity. Guy's always keen to play whether he's playing against a relative or not. Whether Sagbo will play or not is the question. They won at Newcastle last week and he didn't play so I can't honestly think that he would play. I don't think Steve would change a team that won 3-2 last week."
You're good friends with Hull manager Steve Bruce how do you think he's getting on?
SA: "Better than me at the moment! For them to get their first away win was a huge result, it lifts the whole city, the backroom staff and all the players. We face them at a time when their confidence is sky-high so as always we'll have a tough game on our hands. His players, irrespective of how many he's changed, have gelled well which was the opposite to his time at Sunderland. He had to change a lot of players there due to the problems financially and with players wanting to leave so it didn't work out for him. At Hull he's changed a lot of players and it's worked for him very, very well in a short period of time and they've obviously started the season exceptionally well."
Has Ravel Morrison done enough to warrant a place in the starting eleven?
SA: "At the moment his performances are exceptionally good and that means you don't have to fight for your place. If you're good enough then you're old enough and he's proved that up to now. We've got to keep his feet firmly on the ground and watch out for head swelling. We don't want to be changing the size of our doors because he can't fit his head through."
More to follow...