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Ballack And Carvalho Set For Blues Return

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Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack could make his first appearance for eight months when The Blues take on Liverpool in the Carling Cup quarter final on Wednesday night, with defender Ricardo Carvalho also in contention for the London club.

Germany international Ballack has not played since sustaining an ankle injury in August but has been included in Avram Grant's squad ahead of the game at Stamford Bridge.

If he does make an appearance, the cup clash will mark the end of a torturous road back to fitness for the former Bayern Munich star who has seen his condition debated by both club and country in recent months.

Grant now hopes Ballack has put his injury ordeal behind him and that he will again begin to show the form that made him one of world football's most in-demand stars when Chelsea snapped him up on a free transfer in 2006.

"He's available," said Grant ahead of the game against Liverpool. "He's a very good player, we missed him and we want him to be available.

"It's not easy to come back after such a long injury but he's a good character and a good player."

Further good news for Chelsea is that Portugal international Ricardo Carvalho also returns to the squad.

The defender has not played since November 11 due to a back injury but his return comes at an opportune time with Blues captain John Terry ruled out for six weeks on Monday.

Speaking of his captain, Grant added: "I'm sure he is not in a good mood today."

Sentanta Sports

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