Terry and Essien ready to return for Chelsea
John Terry and Michael Essien will return to the Chelsea team for Saturday's Premier League encounter at home to Everton, but Frank Lampard is still unavailable.
Chelsea yesterday rejected suggestions that Lampard, who returned to training this week, had suffered another setback in his attempts to recover from a series of injuries dating back to a groin operation at the end of August. The 32-year-old trained on his own, indoors, yesterday.
Terry had hoped to recover from the muscle tightness around a nerve in his leg, which is causing him sciatica pain, for last Sunday's match against Newcastle, but Chelsea chose to delay Alex's knee surgery until this week so the Brazilian could play.
Essien has also been absent, while Chelsea have lost their lead at the top of the Premier League -- through a toe injury and then suspension after being sent off against Fulham -- but is also now ready to return. That is to the relief of Carlo Ancelotti, who has admitted his team have struggled to cope without Terry, Essien and Lampard -- especially with Didier Drogba suffering from the effects of malaria.
Meanwhile, Ray Wilkins has received his pay-off after being abruptly sacked as Chelsea's assistant manager. It is thought he has been paid until the end of the season, even though his deal expired before then. Wilkins was told last month that he would not be offered a renewed contract and immediately left the club.
The club have failed to give satisfactory reasons for Wilkins' departure, especially as it was a decision that went against the wishes of Ancelotti.
Wilkins said yesterday: "It has obviously been a big wrench leaving such an illustrious club and one which has played such a huge role in my playing and coaching career."
It is understood that Wilkins will now look for another coaching job and has also agreed to do some media work. (© Daily Telegraph, London)