Andre Villas-Boas is delighted with Michael Essien's comeback from injury, suggesting he could be in contention for a first-team place this month.

14238 - Essien closing on first-team return - AVB

Essien has had a string of serious injuries in recent seasons and suffered knee ligament damage last year.

The club welcomed him back with an outing for the reserves against West Brom this week and he came through the game without alarm.

Chelsea are battling for honours on three fronts and Villas-Boas feels Essien will soon be in a position to aid their European and domestic quest.

"Essien is making good progress, but this weekend will be too soon," Villas-Boas said ahead of Chelsea's Premier League clash with Sunderland.