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By Football Talk.

Chelsea's Joe Cole

It’s FA Cup weekend and holders Chelsea entertain Stoke City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Ahead of the game Chelsea have made it clear they want Joe Cole to extend his contract with the club and The Blue’s have been dealt a double injury blow.

Wilkins confident on Cole

Chelsea assistant Ray Wilkins has said he is confident that Joe Cole will stay at the club, despite reports that contract talks have broken down between the player and club. Cole’s contract is up in the summer and there will be no shortage of interested clubs should he decide to leave. But Wilkins has stressed the clubs desire to keep hold of him.

“We are desperate to keep Joe,” he said on Sky Sports News. “I know the club are and we as a management group are desperate to keep him.

“He is a very valuable asset to us, but it is a contractual situation that I am sure he and the club will sort out at some stage.

“We sincerely hope so. We would love to keep Joe and I am sure they will sort that out.”

This will be Cole’s last and most important contract so it’s only natural he wants a deal that will suit him. His place in Carlo Ancelotti’s starting eleven is far from secure so i can see why Cole may be thinking of moving on. He is hardly going to sign-up to sit on the bench every week. He is too good for that and he could easily get a four year deal at a top club and play every week.

Maybe Ancelotti is just easing him back gradually after such a long lay-off, but Cole will want assurances before he signs a new deal, as well as the club meeting his wage demands. Which shouldn’t be a problem for mega-rich Chelsea.

Bosingwa and Essien blow

Wilkins also confirmed that full-back Jose Bosingwa will require further surgery on his knee injury and will not only miss the rest of the season but the World Cup as well. Michale Essien will also be out for another couple of weeks while Ashley Cole and Petr Cech are recovering well.

“Bosingwa will be out for the season and have another operation, so that’s him unfortunately, and he’ll miss the World Cup as well,”

“Michael Essien is doing well, there has been a slight complication which means it needs a couple of weeks longer but he’s out [in France] with Ashley [Cole] now and they’re both doing extremely well, so from that point of view we’re delighted with their recovery,” he continued.

“Petr [Cech] is also doing very well indeed, he was doing some half-squats yesterday in the water, and he’s coming on very well.”

Based on Hilario’s performance against Manchester City last week, the sooner Cech returns the better.

Chelsea’s Cup?

Surely this years FA Cup is Chelsea’s to lose? With fellow big-boys Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City all knocked out, this years competition is far weaker than anyone would have predicted at the Quarter Final stages. The only realistic threats are Aston Villa and Spurs. But they both face tricky away ties to Reading and Fulham respectively, so their passage’s to the Semi-finals are far from guaranteed.

However, Chelsea have yet another home draw, although Stoke should provide a real test, a Chelsea victory is a safe bet. Despite some shaky form recently, Chelsea should have enough to get past Stoke, but Tony Pulis has managed to navigate past both Arsenal and Manchester City already in this years cup and have lost only 1 in their last 12 so Carlo Ancelotti will have to take them seriously.

So Chelsea are hot favourites to retain the FA Cup and win it for the third time in four years.

Chelsea Team news

Chelsea have lost full-back Jose Bosingwa for the rest of the season with a knee injury. Michael Ballack and Juliano Balletti are both suspended after seeing red last week against Manchester City.

The Blues will also be missing Petr Cech, Deco, Ashley Cole and Michael Essien. Striker Daniel Sturridge will be available and looking to continue his impressive run of scoring in every round so far.

Stoke Team news

Ryan Shawcross will be suspended after his sending off against Arsenal last Saturday, so Danny Collins should step in.

Stoke will check on both Matthew Etherington and Danny Higginbotham. Other than that Tony Pulis has a strong squad to choose from.

Will Chelsea win this years FA Cup? Should Joe Cole stay? Please leave your comments below…

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