Terry returns to Chelsea squad for Cup clash

February 15, 2008

John Terry's remarkable recovery powers continue to astound coach Avram Grant after the England international was considered fit enough to be included in the squad to face Huddersfield in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Terry was not expected to return to action for a further fortnight after fracturing three bones in his foot against Arsenal in December last year.

But the England captain has defied the schedule laid down by the club's medical staff and is in with a real chance of playing some part against Town in their fifth round tie on Saturday.

'He has surprised us all,' admitted Grant. 'Maybe he is a bionic man. He recovers very quickly and well and maybe he will be available for on Saturday.

'Maybe he will be on the bench or even start, but we haven't decided about that yet. But each injury depends on the person and he is very strong, not just mentally, but also physically.

'He is a very important player for us. I haven't seen a captain like him. I have been all over the world and he is a big captain and influence on the team.

'For me a captain leads by example and not just talking. He sets a good example and we miss him a lot on the pitch.'

Grant has a few minor knocks to worry about before on Saturday's clash with Town and although striker Didier Drogba did not train on Friday, Grant expects him to be fit.

Grant added: 'Didier didn't train but he is okay. I think he will be available on Saturday.'

The 52-year-old Israeli says they are well prepared for Huddersfield's visit and he has already set his sights on a second visit to Wembley in his first season as manager.

Grant will lead the side out at Wembley for the Carling Cup final against Spurs later this month and he knows all about the tradition of the FA Cup, which they also won last season.

'The tradition of the cup in England is the best in the world,' said Grant. 'I have never seen a cup that is so important to the supporter and so interesting to other countries.

'As a kid I remember waiting to see the English cup on black and white TV, so we want to succeed in this competition.

'We make our own preparations for every game and we have seen many videos of Huddersfield and I think we know everything about them. We will play with a strong team on Saturday.'

Grant believes he can keep his squad happy now that it has been replenished with Michael Essien, Salomon Kalou and Drogba from African Nations Cup duty.

Some of the players who have helped Chelsea cope admirably through a difficult January are set to face the axe as these internationals return to first-team action but Grant is confident there will be no tantrums.

'I don't think we upset people because the players in Chelsea are fully committed to the team,' said Grant. 'I can never guarantee that I will make everybody happy but they are positive and that is what is important.

'If you see bench and the players not on the bench, they are all very happy for the team. Of course there are some who play less minutes than the others. But I prefer all the squad to be fit and take decisions like this than have the situation we have had over the last three months.'