Chelsea have been given a pre-season fitness boost after assistant coach Ray Wilkins confirmed that midfielders Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel should be ready for the start of the new Barclays League campaign.
But while Wilkins was delighted with the rehabilitation work of both players, Carlo Ancelotti's number two insisted the fitness of their World Cup stars would require careful handling to prevent them "hitting the wall" by the end of the year.
Essien and Mikel missed out on the World Cup finals with Ghana and Nigeria respectively because of knee injuries.
But the extra fitness work carried out during the summer break has put them both in contention for a return to action in time for the August 14 kick-off.
"There should be no problem whatsoever," said Wilkins. "Mikel is slightly in advance of Michael Essien but they are both working very well indeed.
"They have been working double sessions for the last week and we will get them really firing before the season starts."