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Grant Questions Appeals Process

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Avram Grant questions FA's appeals process

Avram Grant was yesterday left questioning the worth of the Football Association's appeal process as referee Phil Dowd ignored a plea to "be honest" and say that it was a mistake to send off Ashley Cole against Aston Villa on Boxing Day.

The Chelsea manager is adamant that the video evidence supports his claim that Cole did not deliberately handle the ball in blocking Gabriel Agbonlahor's injury-time header and should, therefore, have had his red card overturned.

The regulatory commission, however, upheld Dowd's decision, meaning Cole must serve a one-match ban and will join Ricardo Carvalho, Didier Drogba, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Florent Malouda and Claude Makelele in being unavailable to face Newcastle at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.

Speaking shortly before the commission's verdict, Grant said: "I expect him [the referee], in the appeal, to be honest to say, 'I thought that Ashley Cole saved with his hand. I saw the television, he didn't save with his hand'.

"He didn't save the ball with his hand so be honest and say, 'we are sorry, it's wrong', like Carvalho said sorry. If I see that this appeal is for nothing we will think if we do it [appeal in the future]."

The combination of injuries, suspensions and the forthcoming African Cup of Nations means that Chelsea are likely to be active in the January transfer window. Their hopes of signing Croatian playmaker Luka Modric were boosted yesterday when it emerged that Tottenham are unwilling to match Dinamo Zagreb's valuation, understood to be £20 million.

Grant, who is expected to sign Bolton's Nicolas Anelka as cover for Drogba, confirmed that Chelsea's owner, Roman Abramovich, was willing to spend.

"If the injuries continue like this, we'll need more than we said before," Grant said. "There's not a specific number. It depends on the quality that's available, the right quality for Chelsea.

"He [Abramovich] knows the situation we're in. He knows what we need to do. I don't think the problem is the money. I can guarantee you that any player we're interested in, the price will be suddenly more than we thought before. But you can't do anything about it."

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