Essien eyes a return

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Michael Essien hopes to be back in action for Chelsea next month after making encouraging progress in his recovery from knee ligament damage.

It was initially feared the powerful Ghana midfielder would miss the entire season after sustaining the injury in September while on international duty.

However should Chelsea negotiate their Champions League last 16 tie against Juventus, he would surely figure in the quarter finals in early April, he told 90minutes: "According to rehabilitation physio Thierry Laurent, it should not take more than one month for me to play actively again."

"He has assured me that once we go through a few other exercises for two or three weeks, I should be fit enough to return to the pitch."

Essien's injury meant he missed virtually the whole of Luiz Felipe Scolari's brief reign at Stamford Bridge.

Guus Hiddink, Scolari's successor, has overseen training this week and Essien approves of the appointment.

"Hiddink has been around for quite a while and knows what it takes to get positive results out of nothing," he said.

"He is a fantastic manager so we hope he would bring the magic to give us the strength we need to mount a challenge in all competitions."

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Michael Essien

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