Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink has decided to organise a practice match to help captain John Terry recover his fitness in time for their Champions League clash with Paris St Germain.
Terry hasn’t featured in the past three fixtures due to a hamstring injury and while there is a slight hope he might return soon, Hiddink still has a concern over his match fitness.
In their next four games, Blues face Norwich and Stoke in the Premier League, play PSG in the second leg of their Champions league tie looking to overturn a 2-1 deficit from Paris, before facing Everton in the FA Cup quarterfinals.
Terry has long been an important figure at Stamford Bridge but due to a serious knee injury ruling out his centre-back partner Kurt Zouma for the rest of this season and left-back Baba Rahman’s weak display in Saturday’s 2-1 league victory at Southampton, Terry’s return is considered very important now.
The skipper could yet return to action before the PSG match on March 9, but aware of his potential importance for that match, Hiddink revealed: “We’ll see how we react and if he needs a game we might organise a game, an intense game. Maybe he needs 11 vs 11 at Cobham or maybe six versus six or seven versus seven but with intensity. It’s very tight, it’s very tight [on if he will be fully fit].”
But Hiddink has no intention now to take any risks with the 35-year-old’s fitness.
He further said: “If the medical staff says [he can feature against Norwich on Tuesday] and John says so then I’ll be careful because I have the experience in the past with this kind of injuries.
“Someone thinks ‘I’m fine, I feel okay’, but the demands of the game are a little bit different then, although it’s heavy training. I prefer to wait although everyone is knocking on the door, I prefer to wait especially in relation to the games coming up.
“I don’t think [Terry will rush back in order to earn a new contract]. We talked, I talked to him, I said ‘Hey, let’s take our time,’ not to rush things and nothing to do with the contractual situation.
“It’s not long because normally for hamstring and tendon injuries they’re, at least, it depends on the grade of the seriousness of the injury, but normally it’s longer than an ankle injury or whatever and I have the experience to wait, maybe even a game longer than everyone thinks.”
John Terry is not yet ready to sign a new contract with the club and has also expressed his desire to look elsewhere if Chelsea, his only full-time senior club, fail to come up with a new deal.
But Hiddink doesn’t believe the veteran English defender will want to rush his return to the first team to prove his worthiness for a new contract.