Weary, winless Chelsea look to Africa

AFP , LONDON

Tue, Feb 12, 2008 - Page 18

Avram Grant admits he cannot wait to get John Terry and his African stars back in action because Chelsea's title challenge is in danger of running out of steam.

Grant's side looked weary during Sunday's goalless draw against Liverpool as two months without a host of key players finally started to take its toll.

The stalemate at Stamford Bridge left Chelsea five points behind leaders Arsenal.

After reeling off nine wins in a row, Chelsea have been forced to settle for draws against Portsmouth and now Liverpool in their last two games.

With John Terry only just back in training, Frank Lampard making his first appearance since Dec. 26 on Sunday and Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Salomon Kalou only expected back from the Africa Cup of Nations this week, it has been a grueling time for the rest of the Blues squad.

"Of course if we draw twice we are not happy, but we are still in with a chance of the title," Grant said.

Terry's return is a massive boost for Grant.

The England defender is not expected to play for another three weeks but Grant admits he would not be surprised if he was back in time for the League Cup final against Tottenham on Feb. 24.

"He is a leader and we need him. He will be back in about three weeks. I think the cup final will be too soon but we will wait and see," Grant said.