Following the aggravation of a rib injury, Ashley Cole will miss England's crucial qualifier at home to Montenegro on Friday with Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs called up as cover.

105-cap Cole had expected to be fit for the tie after turning out for Chelsea in their 3-1 win away to Norwich on Sunday.

However, Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson will now presumably turn to the in-form Leighton Baines in what is surely one of the most important weeks of his tenure as England manager. Cole could return for Tuesday's encounter with Poland.

Cole's absence means that Gibbs will join Arsenal teammate Jack Wilshere in the 23-man England squad.

The 24-year-old has made an impressive start to the season, keeping Spanish international Nacho Monreal benched and helping guide his side to the top of the table. Despite Cole's loss, England have a more than adequate replacement in Baines.

Although Friday's game with Montenegro is of huge significance to England's chances of qualifying for next summer's World Cup, some tickets remain unsold.

Hodgson, however, doesn't doubt the Wembley crowd's support for the team. He was quoted by the Daily Mail: "The supporters will be at Wembley and will be behind us. I would encourage them to be as vocal and intimidating as possible.

"We will be doing our level best not to disappoint them."

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Topics:
#Kieran Gibbs
#England Football
#Ashley Cole
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