West Ham United striker Carlton Cole looks likely to add to his impressive pre-season goal tally in a friendly match with Southend United tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).
Avram Grant’s side are 4/9 to win the game at Roots Hall and with the 26-year-old looking to make a case for inclusion in Fabio Capello’s squad for England’s match against Hungary on August 11th, it’s probable he’ll feature.
Having scored four goals in five friendlies so far, Cole is in scorching form and should he continue that into the competitive season, would be an attractive 50/1 bet for the Premier League Golden Boot.
Cole, who has seven England caps, has been the subject of numerous transfer rumours but his boss wants him to stay. Grant said: “I don’t want to sell him. He works hard, his attitude is good and he is a good player.”
League Two club Southend staved off administration on Monday after reaching a deal with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs and Paul Sturrock’s side should find the match with a top-tier team a much needed respite from off-field woes.
The Shrimpers are 9/2 to win the game but with West Ham looking to make it six wins from as many matches in pre-season, that result appears unlikely. 2-0 to West Ham is a 6/1 chance.
A High Court hearing on Monday ruled that the Shrimpers’ existing debts have been settled, but HMRC reiterated the warning that should any future payments be missed, club officials would be up before magistrates again.
Despite this positive news, Sturrock’s job to get Southend the title (25/1) is made difficult by a transfer embargo placed upon the club. However, chairman Ron Martin believes that could be lifted as early as Tuesday.
Stoke City boss Tony Pulis has rebutted claims he made a £9million bid for Cole, by saying: “There’s no truth in it whatsoever.”
His side are 4/5 to beat League One club Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium tonight (kick-off 7.45pm), while Paul Trollope’s team are 13/5 to pull off a shock.
9/4 relegation candidates Wolverhampton Wanderers are in action in Ediburgh at 7pm this evening as they take out Scottish Premier League team Hearts. The English side are 7/5 to win north of the border.
Birmingham City travel to MK Dons (25/1 to win League One) tonight in another friendly and are 4/6 to win the game, which kicks-off at 7.30pm.