CRYSTAL PALACE have stepped up their shock bid to bring Carlton Cole out of mothballs and into their desperate relegation battle.
Striker Cole, 33, is a free agent but has been training with Southend United following a spell in Indonesian football.
Palace boss Roy Hodgson has turned to Cole to help with an injury crisis at the Premier League’s bottom club and Palace have contacted the player’s representatives to discuss a possible deal.
Palace are without lead frontman Christian Benteke for six weeks because of a knee injury.
Cole, former Liverpool striker Rickie Lambert, and Mali forward Cheick Diabate are all on Palace’s wish list.
Lambert, 35, is a free agent after leaving Cardiff in the summer.
Mali striker Diabate, who has been a target for Everton, was with Turkish side Osmanlispor.
The 29 year old scored 66 goals in 152 games for Bordeaux, and 14 times in 30 games across spells with Osmanlispor and Metz.
Bottom of the table Palace, without a win or a goal in six matches, have major problems in attack, with their only centre forward Connor Wickham out until January with a knee ligament problem.