Terry set for speedy Chelsea return

John Terry could play for Chelsea in the FA Cup against Macclesfield this weekend, barely a week after undergoing keyhole surgery on a back injury that has troubled him for much of the season.

Terry trained with the rest of the Chelsea squad ahead of Tuesday’s goalless Premier League away to Aston Villa — which left the second-placed champions six points adrift of leaders Manchester United — despite only having the minor operation last Thursday.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho needs his captain more than ever now after defender Khalid Boulahrouz, who is expected to be sidelined for between four to six weeks, injured his knee ligaments against Villa.

”He opened up his knee in a tackle and it is ligament damage. It could be four to six weeks. It is hard for him because he was just back in the team after suspension,” said Mourinho.

Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvahlo is suspended for next week’s League Cup semifinal with Wycombe and, ahead of that match, Mourinho said centre-half and England skipper Terry was available for Saturday’s FA Cup tie.

”That is very important for us, because we started the season with three central defenders and now we only have one,” Mourinho said.

”The problem was that we sold William Gallas on the last day of the [last] transfer window and that did not leave us enough time to get a replacement,” the Portuguese added.

”It is a club issue and one that we have to deal with at some stage. We will go into the market to see if we can bring in another defender.”

Mourinho will also have Dutch international Arjen Robben available for the next Premiership game, against Wigan on January 13.

Goalkeeper Petr Cech, who has been out since his horrific head injury suffered against Reading back in October, should also be back in contention for a place.

”They will both be playing again by the middle of the month,” said Mourinho.

But the Blues’ boss has ended the hopes of Manchester City and Aston Villa of luring Shaun Wright-Phillips out on loan in the January transfer window. A host of Premiership clubs including, former club City, have been trying to take the young England winger on loan, after Mourinho said he would be willing to listen to offers.

However, he has now put a block on all players leaving Stamford Bridge during the January transfer window.

”There will be no players going out on loan. None of the people who want my players on loan will be allowed to have them and I won’t be selling any of them for the price of Diego Maradona in the 1980s!

”If someone wants a Chelsea player they will have to make a good offer. None of the players will be going in the sales.”

Mourinho also said England midfielder Joe Cole has had an operation on his broken foot, which will keep him out of action for two months.

And despite failing to make a significant dent in United’s lead at the top of the Premiership, Mourinho was confident of overhauling Sir Alex Ferguson’s team during the remainder of the season.

”I am happy to be six points behind and I am happy that we will catch Manchester United. We did it last season. We can do that again.” — Sapa-AFP

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