By James Black

Former Celtic flop Carlton Cole could be set for a shock return to the Premier League with Crystal Palace, according to a report.

The Daily Star claim Cole could join the Eagles on a short-term deal after Belgian striker Christian Benteke was ruled out for six weeks with a knee injury.

The 33-year-old is currently a free agent following a spell with Indonesian side Persib Bandung, where he struggled to make an impact after falling out with their coach Umuh Muchtar.

Palace have had the worst start of any side in the Premier League era and sacked manager Frank de Boer after failing to score in any of their opening four league games.

A move to Cole would be a surprise given his agent, status and his lack of any real form in recent years.

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Cole signed a two-year deal with the Parkhead side in October 2015 but failed to impress, making only five appearances and scoring a solitary goal before being released by Brendan Rodgers after only eight months.

After leaving Celtic, Cole headed to the United States to join Sacramento Republic in the United Soccer League (America’s second division) but only lasted four games before returning to the UK.

According to the Daily Star Bolton and Hull City are also said to be showing interest in the former Celtic man, who has been keeping himself fit by training with Southend United.

“He has kept himself fit and is in good shape and is ready to go and still is confident he can do a good job as a high level.” a friend of the players told the Daily Star, as quoted by their website.

Cole has also played for Chelsea, West Ham, Wolves, Charlton and Aston Villa over his 16-year career and has picked up seven caps for England.

In other Celtic news, fans have raged at Gordon Strachan after this in-form attacker was omitted from the Scotland squad.

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