John Terry in line to make Chelsea return against Stoke City
John Terry could feature for Chelsea at Stoke on Saturday after shaking off knee injury that has kept him out since November
John Terry will be included in Chelsea’s squad to face Stoke City on Saturday but Rafael Benítez will not risk throwing the Blues captain straight into his starting line-up.
The centre-half has not featured for the west Londoners since suffering a knee injury in a collision with Luis Suárez during Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool back in November.
Terry played 45 minutes for Chelsea’s Under-21 side on Thursday night and Benítez admits he is relieved that the defender is on the verge of being fully fit again.
“He played yesterday and he was OK,” said the Chelsea interim boss. “He has been training today and he is in the squad. He cannot start yet but at least he’s available. It’s good news for us after 16 weeks out.”
He added: “It’s always important to have you captain and somebody who has character.
“We thought he’d be out for less time but the knee is always a problem, you never know. It’s good news and hopefully he’ll be fine until the end of the season.
“I was talking with him this morning before the training session and he has no problems.
“He needs to train and get fitter but it’s good to have options.”
Benítez also revealed that goalkeeper Petr Cech will undergo a late fitness test ahead of Saturday’s trip to the Britannia Stadium after he was sidelined with an adductor problem.
“He has been training and maybe he will travel,” he said. “We will have to decide at the end. There is a chance [he will play] – we will check him.”
Meanwhile, Benítez also remained typically coy on Frank Lampard’s contract situation, with the 34-year-old midfielder continuing to be linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge as he enters the final few months of his current deal.
“He’s training really well and is fully committed,” said Benítez of Lampard. “He’s a good professional and I’m really pleased that he is giving his best for us. I cannot give any other answer.”