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Ba close to Chelsea return

Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez has been given a much-needed boost with news that Demba Ba could be set for a quick return to action after breaking his nose at Newcastle last weekend.

• Blues in Lampard talks - report

Ba was forced out of the action in his first game at St James' Park since leaving Newcastle in January after a clash with Fabricio Coloccini that left Benitez fuming and insisting his side should have been awarded a penalty.

But it seems the damage is not long lasting, with the Senegal international in contention to play a part in Saturday's game against Wigan at Stamford Bridge after returning to training on Thursday sporting a black mask.

Ba flew to Milan earlier this week to have the face mask fitted and posted a picture on his Twitter account confirming he was heading to Italy to get the face gear, which should ensure his speedy return to first team action.

However, the misfiring Fernando Torres looks set to be handed a starting place in the Chelsea line up on Saturday, with Benitez set to continue with his striker rotation policy.

Meanwhile, bookmakers in Britain and Ireland have installed interim Blues boss Benitez as the red hot favourite to be the next manager to lose his post in the Premier League, with defeat on Saturday against Roberto Martinez's strugglers likely to increase speculation over the Spaniard's future.

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