Benitez brings Chelsea winger back from the wilderness
Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun is back in first-team contention, says Rafa Benitez
The 32-year-old midfielder recently returned to Stamford Bridge after his loan spell at London rivals West Ham ended after six months.
Benayoun hasn't played for Chelsea since August 2011, after enjoying another temporary stint away from the club with Arsenal last season, but returned to the senior squad for Sunday's FA Cup fourth round clash at Brentford.
The Israeli international was an unused substitute in the 2-2 draw at Griffin Park, but Benitez has made his intentions clear to orchestrate a comeback for a player he knows well from their time together at Liverpool.
After overcoming a knee injury that kept him out of the Hammers team towards the end of his Upton Park stay, Benayoun is ready to seize an opportunity handed to him by the Spaniard, who has spoken of the importance of rotating his squad during the busy fixture schedule.
"Benayoun is part of the team and is training with the squad," said Benitez. "He was on loan but has come back. He had an injury and has been working with the physios but you could see the other day he was available in the FA Cup and he will be available again tomorrow.
"We have [Eden] Hazard and [Victor] Moses out and Lucas Piazon is a young player who was playing in the same position as Oscar and [Juan] Mata.
"Yossi can play in the wide areas so he can help and I know about his game intelligence. No doubt, he can give us something."
Benitez had been hoping to supplement his Chelsea squad, stretched by the combination of injuries, Africa Cup of Nations participants, and an unenviable run of games.
It seems that owner Roman Abramovich is unwilling to fund further reinforcements, though, after already paying £7million to bring Demba Ba to Stamford Bridge at the start of the January transfer window.