Joe set to start in battle of Blues

Joe Cole will return to the Chelsea side for Saturday's Premier League clash against Birmingham at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.

Last Updated: 26/01/10 at 15:01

Joe Cole: Will take on Birmingham

Joe Cole: Will take on Birmingham

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The England midfielder was left out of the starting line-up against Preston in the FA Cup at the weekend along with goalkeeper Petr Cech, who also returns.

Ricardo Carvalho replaces Alex in defence while Ashley Cole is back after missing the Preston game with an ankle knock. Juliano Belletti is out for a month with a knee injury while Michael Essien is sidelined for six weeks with a similar complaint.

Strikers Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou return on Wednesday from African Nations Cup duty with the Ivory Coast but are not included in the squad. John Mikel Obi remains in Angola with Nigeria.

Chelsea (from): Cech, Hilario, Turnbull, Ivanovic, Carvalho, Terry, A Cole, Ballack, Deco, Lampard, J Cole, Malouda, Anelka, Sturridge, Borini, Ferreira, Bruma, Alex, Zhirkov, Kakuta.

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