Injured Ghanaian midfield star Michael Essien could be back playing football one month earlier than expected according to Chelsea boss Felipe Scolari.
Essien was due to stay out of action until March 2009 after tearing anterior cruciate ligaments on international duty for Ghana but Scoalri says he could be back in January.
"I think Essien will come to play with us one month before the doctors said he would.
"I see him every day work hard and if God helps me, I think Essien is with us in the last days in January," Scolari said.
Scolari's words will be music to the ears of Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac and Black Stars fans ahead of the next phase of 2010 World Cup qualifiers.
Essien was not in danger of missing the beginning of the qualifiers which is billed for the final Sunday of March but the fact he could have close to two months match practice under his belt means he will be back in his elements by the time the qualifiers begin.