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Chelsea star Michael Essien poised to boost title hopes by making a return for Stoke clash

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20 Apr 2010 15:14:11

Chelsea star Michael Essien poised to boost title hopes by making a return for Stoke clash

Michael Essien is poised to hand Chelsea a massive title boost by ending his four-month absence against Stoke on Sunday. The Ghanaian powerhouse has not played for Carlo Ancelotti's Blues since limping out of the Champions League draw with Apoel Nicosia on December 8, after he damaged knee ligaments on African Cup of Nations duty the following month. Ancelotti had been cautious about Essien's prospects as his recovery stalled even when he flew to France for specialist treatment. Ready to return: Michael Essien in action against Blackburn earlier this season But the midfielder will be back in full training at Chelsea's Cobham base this week and is hopeful of making the squad for the must-win game against Tony Pulis' Potters. And with Ancelotti keen to have Essien in his starting side for the trip to Anfield the following week, it is likely the African will make an appearance at Stamford Bridge to get up to match pace at the start of the four-game period which will decide if Chelsea are Double winners or end the season with nothing for their efforts. Ancelotti is also set to have Ashley Cole in his starting line-up for the first time in two months if the England left-back, on the bench at Spurs on Saturday, comes through a training ground match on Wednesday. On the sidelines: Ashley Cole and Michael Essien watch Chelsea's clash with Inter Milan last month Chelsea's double boost comes at the right time for Ancelotti, who has demanded his players remain calm in the wake of the Tottenham defeat and Manchester United cutting their title advantage to a solitary point with three games to play. The Chelsea boss is planning without John Obi Mikel for the weekend, with the Nigerian facing up to ten days out after aggravating a knee injury at White Hart Lane, which saw him replaced after just 33 minutes. But top scorer Didier Drogba will be available having decided against early surgery on the hernia problem that has dogged him for the last four months.  Aguero hints at Chelsea move to learn from Drogba and LampardPavlyuchenko blasts Chelsea: You're cocky and we should have won 6-1!CHELSEA FC


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