Chelsea confident crocked Cole will make it

May 21, 2008

Chelsea expect defender Ashley Cole to be fit for tonight's Champions League final against Manchester United.

The club are confident the England left-back will recover from an ankle knock he sustained after a tackle from team-mate Claude Makelele during training at the Luzhniki Stadium last night.

Cole was later helped off the pitch by the Chelsea medical staff for treatment and then returned to take part in a training match before retiring earlier than the rest of the squad.

The club said in a statement: 'In a challenge with Claude Makelele in front of hundreds of cameras and the world football press, Ashley Cole hurt his right ankle.

'He was treated, it was tested, then strapped - but after consultation between Grant, club doctor Bryan English and physios Dave Hancock and Thierry Laurent - Cole resumed and took full part in the final training game - only disappearing down the tunnel after the players had listened to Avram's address and been stood-down for a final kickaround.'

Fellow England left-back Wayne Bridge was ready to replace him if the injury had been serious, but the Blues are happy that Cole will be fit enough to play.

Meanwhile captain John Terry believes both teams will go into the final on an equal footing.

Many pundits have made Avram Grant's side the underdogs but Terry says this game cannot be compared to any of their meetings in the Barclays Premier League.

'It's a different ball game to the league,' said Terry.

'They deserved to win (the title) but it's a one-off game tomorrow.

'There are no underdogs or favourites. We're hoping we are going to be on our game, fully fit and determined to lift the trophy.

'They have a lot of quality players in the side and hopefully it's a good game but if it's a bad game so be it. It's about getting our hands on the trophy.'

Terry also shrugged off suggestions that the Luzhniki Stadium pitch, criticised for its poor condition, will be a problem.

'The pitch is the same for both sides and if get the footwear right we will be fine. We are not worrying about that at all.'

Meanwhile, England midfielder Frank Lampard will put his own future aside in a bid to secure a family double success.

Lampard, whose mother Pat died in between their two semi-finals legs against Liverpool, was at Wembley on Saturday to see Harry Redknapp lift the FA Cup.

Redknapp's wife Sandra was Pat's twin sister and the whole family were left devastated by her untimely death last month.

Lampard's future has once again become the subject of much transfer speculation because the midfielder has yet to sign a long-term extension to his current contract.

Lampard's deal expires in 2009 but the Chelsea midfielder is determined to sort out his situation in the summer.

In the meantime he remains focused on helping Chelsea to their first Champions League crown and making it a memorable family double.

'I was at Wembley on Saturday to see Harry win the FA Cup,' revealed Lampard. 'It was a great day for the family and Harry in his career. He deserved that for what he has given to the game.

'I was fully supporting him on Saturday and I'm sure he and all the Redknapp family will be supporting me. I hope we can make it a family double.'