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West Ham hero Gale: Cole fitness key to survival

The fitness of Carlton Cole will be key to West Ham United dragging themselves out of the dropzone.

A home defeat by Everton seven days ago brought to a halt the mini-revival for Gianfranco Zola's team and saw them descend into the bottom three.

But former Hammers defender Tony Gale told the Sunday Mirror: "There isn't another striker like him at the club. To have him back will be a big plus.

"He has developed into someone who, I am convinced, is the best English front man of his type in the Premier League.

"Without him, it is like Liverpool without Fernando Torres or Arsenal without Robin van Persie.

"He gives the team talent and a great physical presence. We are seeing the best of him now.

"He has settled down now with a family and anyone can see the effect it has had on him. It has been very positive.

"If he continues to play like he has so far this season, I see the perfect front-line partner for Wayne Rooney in the World Cup finals. As long as he is fit, he is the man for that job."

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Tribal Football Staff

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