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Injured Cole out of qualifier

Ashley Cole's rib injury has ruled him out of England's final World Cup qualifier against Poland on Tuesday night.

Last Updated: 13/10/13 at 17:57 Post Comment   

Ashley Cole will miss out again for England after it was confirmed his rib injury has ruled him out of their final World Cup qualifier against Poland on Tuesday night.

The Chelsea left-back was unavailable for the match against Montenegro on Friday night, but his understudy Leighton Baines performed well in a 4-1 win which keeps Roy Hodgson's team well placed to secure an automatic berth at next summer's finals in Brazil.

On Sunday the Football Association confirmed Cole was still unable to feature, with Baines set to deputise again as England go in search of the win that would guarantee qualification.

Everton defender Baines is confident he will turn in another assured display on Tuesday and give his manager further food for thought over who should be his first-choice left-back going forward.

"The manager feels that we can both do the job," Baines told a press conference.

"He can call on either one of us. That's all that matters really, that the job gets done."

Baines' appearance against Montenegro on Friday marked his 20th cap for his country and he feels he is developing as a player with every national team outing.

"There's significance with every cap you get," he said.

"You grow into it more and more. The more experience you get at this level, the better.

"It's been good to be involved in some more of the qualifiers in this campaign."

Baines confirmed the mood in the England camp was upbeat in the wake of Friday's impressive win in their penultimate Group H outing.

"I'm pleased with how things are going at the moment," he said. "There's a feel-good factor around the whole camp at the moment.

"We've approached both of these games like any other camp. We've not deviated from any schedule. There are no special plans. We focus on what we need to do."

Andros Townsend's performance on his England debut was a particular highlight of Friday's contest at Wembley, the Tottenham winger capping a fine all-round display with a superb goal to make it 3-1, and Baines hailed the newcomer's impact.

"It was an outstanding performance," he said. "The goal he scored, he'll keep that with him forever. He's now an important part of the squad."

Poland's defeat to Ukraine on Friday ended their hopes of reaching Brazil but Baines concedes it is difficult to predict how that will affect Tuesday's match.

"It may be a difficult task. You're not sure, now that Poland are out of the equation, how they're going to approach the game. But I guess we've got to forget about that to a certain extent.

"It's a tough task because they're a good side, but we're also aware the reward at the end is massive as well and that's a great incentive for us.

"We've got the job half done now and we've got to go and finish it off."

Friday's win ensures England are certain of at least a place in the play-offs, but Baines said there was no prospect of Hodgson's men treating that as any kind of insurance measure.

"It's always nice that that is there - it's not lose and bust. But it's not something we're thinking about - we're just going to focus on winning the game," he said.

"It's nice that the safety net's there but let's hope it's not needed."


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