Arsène Wenger doubts that Ashley Cole will play against Arsenal on Sunday.
The England full back is scheduled to return to Emirates Stadium at the weekend for the first time since his controversial move to Stamford Bridge on transfer deadline day in August. His former manager has called on the home crowd to welcome back the 26-year-old but he believes he may not feature in any case.
"I don't think he'll play on Sunday," said Wenger. "In recent weeks Chelsea have alternated Wayne Bridge and Ashley Cole [at left back] in every game. I've not seen Cole play in successive games and I've heard he has a little ankle problem."
Cole is likely to get a cool reception from the Arsenal fans if he figures. However the Arsenal manager has urged the fans to remember Cole's contribution during his eight years in red and white.
"I want us to respect Ashley Cole for what he has done for the Club," said Wenger. "I don't want the fans to boo him but you can't expect anything in football.
"From what I have seen while he was here, Ashley Cole is a winner. He performs in the big games. When you had to go in the big games he was always there. He was a big game player."
Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 4 May 2007