Terry hails Anelka as a major force in Blues' revival of form

Nicolas Anelka continues to receive the plaudits for his supporting contribution to Chelsea's season as he prepares to return to action against Hull City tomorrow.

Anelka has shaken off his hamstring strain and will continue his role as the second striker as Daniel Sturridge claims the main attack role in the absence of Didier Drogba.

The France international has scored eight goals this season but has created many more as Chelsea ended the year top of the league.

When Chelsea demolished Arsenal 3-0 at the Emirates last month, Anelka was seen by some as the best player of the 2009-10 season so far.

England captain and team-mate John Terry is an admirer of Anelka's form and has sung the ex-Arsenal man's praises.

"He's been magnificent again this season," said Terry. "There are not many players who can play the main goalscorer or the second striker role so effectively, and he has quickly made Chelsea his club."

Drogba may have taken the headlines for his 19-goal haul in all competitions so far but Anelka's team ethic has shone through.

It is that spirit within the dressing room that has brought the Chelsea squad together once more under new coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Although the Blues have failed to win the Premier League title since 2006 and gone through a host of managerial changes since Jose Mourinho was axed in September 2007, they are in the hunt for the FA Cup, the Champions League and the Premier League title.

Germany captain Michael Ballack insists Ancelotti has galvanised the team and given the squad a new belief in itself.

"I'm part of a team that is ready to start winning the big prizes again, and it feels like we now have a manager who will bring stability to the club," said Ballack.

"We have had too many coaches during my time at Chelsea and that is not a good idea if you want success.

"It feels like Carlo is here to stay. This team has connected with Ancelotti and all the players believe he is a man who can work for us, which is a tribute to him because he has come into a dressing room full of highly experienced players who all have their own opinions.

"Maybe that was a problem for other coaches because this is a team where players are not afraid to stand up to each other."

Chelsea are now without Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Michael Essien and John Mikel Obi, who are away at the African Nations Cup.