Cudicini out for a month but hope over Cech

April 13, 2008

LONDON, April 13 (Reuters) - Chelsea goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini could miss the rest of the season through injury but manager Avram Grant said on Sunday he had not ruled out a quicker-than-expected return for first choice Petr Cech.

Cudicini injured a hamstring during Chelsea's Champions League match against Fenerbahce in midweek and Chelsea now estimate he will spend between three and five weeks on the sidelines.

But Cech, who needed 50 stitches in a facial wound following a training ground accident, has since trained wearing a mask and has not yet been ruled out of Monday's Premier League game against Wigan Athletic or Thursday's trip to Everton.

'Carlo is not available,' Grant told a news conference. I think it needs to be around four weeks but with this kind of injury sometimes it can be three or five.'

Grant was evasive when discussing Cech's chances of making an early return to action even though he is yet to have stitches in his injury removed.

'Petr Cech is improving but we're waiting for the medical department. We will check on the situation later and then I will know,' he said.

Third choice goalkeeper Hilario is set to start on Monday if Cech does not make it, with teenager Rhys Taylor poised to take a place on the bench.

Grant gave short shrift to questions about his own future after club chairman Bruce Buck refused to talk about the subject at a question-and-answer session with supporters during the week.

'Look, in one way or another I needed to answer this question since day one that I arrived here,' he said.

'I need to do my job. Basically we are together. And to finish with this story I will say if the club is at any stage not happy they can come to me and I'll go, it's not a matter of money.

'Also if I will not be happy at some stage and want to go I'm sure the club will understand me too.'