John Obi Mikel is back in contention for a return to the first-team when Chelsea travel to Ewood Park to face Blackburn in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.

The 24-year-old Nigerian international missed the UEFA Champions League trip to Genk with a minor back problem, but Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas revealed how Mikel has recovered in time for this weekend.

"Obi has returned to training straight away after we returned from Genk and will be fit for selection," he confirmed.

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

Villas-Boas also reported promising news on injured duo Didier Drogba and Michael Essien - providing an estimated timeframe for their respective returns.

"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. [Meanwhile] Essien is making good progress and we're thinking end of December."

The Portuguese tactician is hoping for a response from his players, after last weekend's 5-3 home defeat at the hands of Arsenal - and is set to call on club captain John Terry - who is expected to return to the line-up despite his pending FA investigation.

"John has been involved in all the Premiership games and is our captain, one of the best defenders in the world," Villas-Boas concluded. "His talent is unquestionable and he is always up for selection."

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