Essien set to give Chelsea an injury boost

Chelsea boss Andre Villas Boas has confirmed that Michael Essien is making good progress from knee surgery, and has pinpointed a December return for the influential midfielder.

The Ghana international has been absent from the Stamford Bridge first team for the entirety of this campaign, but the Portuguese coach is hoping to have Essien available for selection before the turn of the year.

“Essien is making good progress and we’re thinking end of December,” the ex-Porto trainer told the club’s official website.

Chelsea are on a poor run of form after losing their last two league games, and dropping Champions League points against Genk in midweek.

The Blues’ were without Jon Obi Mikel and Didier Drogba for the 1-1 draw at the Cristal Arena on Tuesday, but the African duo will be back available in the near future.

“Obi has returned to training straight away after we returned from Genk and will be fit for selection,” Villas Boas said ahead of Saturday’s trip to Ewood Park to face Blackburn.

“Hilario has done an almost full session today but we still think [he will return] only after the international break.

“Didier will start training as we enter the second week of the international break and we hope he’ll be available for the Liverpool game,” the coach concluded.

Chelsea travel to Lancashire on Saturday in fourth place, nine points behind runaway leaders Manchester City.

By Gareth McKnight