Carlton Cole is set to decide on his future within the next 48 hours.

The in-form West Ham striker's short term deal expired yesterday.

It means the Irons striker , who netted the first goal in the club's crucial 2-0 win at Cardiff on Saturday, is now a free agent with QPR boss Harry Redknapp keen on his services. Crystal Palace are also keen.

If Cole moves to either Loftus Road or Selhurst Park then West Ham could find themselves in a pickle ahead of the Newcastle game.

Record signing Andy Carroll is not yet fit enough to play 90 minutes while Modibo Maiga is the club's only other available centre-forward.

The Hammers should now discover today if they will get a work permit for 6ft 8in striker Lacina Traore, 23, who they hope to take from Monaco. A decision was delayed after a hearing yesterday.

Allardyce, who made a personal appearance at the hearing, is keen not to let Cole slip through his fingers, diminishing his striking options.