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10.03.2009 Football News

Essien in Chelsea squad to face Juventus

Essien in Chelsea squad to face Juventus

Michael Essien's return from long-term injury is sure to give Chelsea a big boost going into the business end of the campaign, according to Blues boss Guus Hiddink.

The versatile Ghana star made his first appearance, since suffering a knee injury back in September, in last weekend's 2-0 FA Cup victory over Coventry City. His return could hardly be more timely and chances are that he will even be risked from the start for Chelsea's crucial Champions League clash with Juventus tonight.

"I think it's very important from now until the end of the season to have a big squad in terms of numbers and quality," Hiddink was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

"Essien has come back so we have more depth in quality in the squad. He can make his contribution like he did in the past. He was out for many, many months, so it's not easy for him to get the rhythm of the game from the first minute he plays.

"But he's very strong, a very positive guy and he can have a huge impact for the rest of the season.

"He will be in the 18, so he's ready to start. Let's see what will happen. We can either start with him or bring him on later, as we did at Coventry, but he's OK and in the squad for the match."

The Blues are slight favorites to overcome Juventus in the Champions League and have already made it through to the semi-finals of the FA Cup.