Manchester City hope to sign Fulham striker Andrew Cole before they fly out to Bangkok to begin their FA Premier League Asia Trophy campaign on Sunday.

Cole, whose contract at Craven Cottage runs until summer 2006, is believed to want a move to the north-west and has been linked with a return to Blackburn.

However, City expect to conclude the first permanent signing of boss Stuart Pearce’s reign before leaving for Asia.

The parties are close to agreement and Cole is due to undergo a medical.

Pearce is keen to sign a new forward with Shaun Wright-Phillips’ protracted move to Chelsea close to being completed and Robbie Fowler struggling with a back injury.