Michael Essien admits he could face a club-versus-country dilemma in January.

The Chelsea midfielder, preparing for Tuesday's Champions League clash with Apoel Nicosia at Stamford Bridge, will leave the Blues to take part in the African Nations Cup with Ghana in Angola from January 10 to 31.

"At the moment, I haven't heard anything from Ghana yet," said Essien. "I'm focusing just on club issues. Once I get that call, we'll have to talk to them."

Essien will miss four Barclays Premier League games during that period but his national side have the right to call him up to their squad two weeks prior to the start of the tournament and that might cause further problems.

Nigeria and the Ivory Coast could do the same with John Obi Mikel plus Salomon Kalou and Didier Drogba respectively, but Essien says he will leave the discussions to Chelsea and the Ghana Football Association should the situation arise.

"If I have to leave, there's nothing I can do," he said. "It's always difficult when it comes to this situation. The club have a good relationship with the (Ghana) FA and I'll leave that to the club and just focus on what I'm doing.

"We'll be going away in January, but we still have a very big and good squad to come in and do the job. It won't cause a big problem for the club.

"It's going to be a very difficult tournament. We have a lot of African players playing in Europe. It'll be very difficult. We have some good players in the team who can do a job.

"We'll just work very hard and see what we can do. I'm always happy to represent my country."

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