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18.02.2009 Football News

Essien upbeat of March return

					Essien upbeat of March return

ESSIEN HAS BEEN SORELY MISSED AT CHELSEA Ghana international Michael Essien feels he is no more than a month away from returning to first team action at Chelsea.

Essien has been inactive since suffering a cruciate ligament injury in August but recently returned to first-team training and was included in Chelsea's squad for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

And although he still has some work to do at the club's Cobham training facility before he can be considered match fit, Essien is optimistic that he could make his long-awaited return at the end of March.

''According to [rehabilitation physio Thierry] Laurent, it should not take more than one month for me to play actively again,'' Essien told 90minutes.

''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.''

The former Lyon midfielder has also paid tribute to Hiddink after the Dutchman was appointed as Chelsea manager until the end of the season following Luiz Felipe Scolari's departure.

Hiddink will combine his role at Chelsea with his responsibilities for leading the Russian national side and Essien believes the 1988 European Cup winner will reinvigorate a Chelsea side afflicted by mixed form and a reportedly divided dressing room.

''Hiddink has been around for quite a while and knows what it takes to get positive results out of nothing,'' Essien added.

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

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