World Cup qualifiers: England without Ashley Cole for vital clash with Poland at Wembley
Ashley Cole has been ruled out of England's final World Cup qualifier against Poland due to a rib injury.
Last Updated: 14/10/13 7:45am
The left-back sat out Friday's win over Montenegro after picking up the injury during Chelsea's victory at Norwich last weekend.
Roy Hodgson had hoped he would recover in time for the must-win showdown with Poland at Wembley on Tuesday, but Cole will play no part after failing a fitness test.
Leighton Baines filled in for Cole against Montenegro and will retain his starting place.
Hodgson also has problems at right-back as Kyle Walker must serve a one-match suspension after picking up his second booking of the campaign on Friday.
Manchester United pair Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are the likely options to replace Walker, while Andros Townsend is expected to keep Jack Wilshere out of the starting line-up after his sparkling debut against Montenegro.
United midfielder Tom Cleverley left the squad last week after suffering a calf injury, and his replacement Raheem Sterling is set to provide cover on the bench.
Meanwhile, 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 continued. "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."