Lampard to replace suspended Essien
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Frank Lampard is set to return to action for Chelsea in Sunday's Premier League match against Sunderland in time to cushion the effects of a possible ban for Michael Essien.

Essien scored the winning goal in a 1-0 win over Fulham at Stamford Bridge last night but was later sent off for a two-footed tackle that could leave him with a three-match ban unless Chelsea can successfully appeal against the dismissal.

England midfielder Lampard, out of action with hernia and tendon problems since the end of August, has begun training with the squad once more and Ancelotti is confident he will be fit enough to play against Sunderland this weekend.

If he's okay, he can start. I don't think he will be able to play 90 minutes, but he can play part of the game - he can do that.
Carlo Ancelotti, Chelsea manager

"I think he'll be okay for Sunday," said Ancelotti. "He started to train two days ago with the team.

"He doesn't have a problem, is showing confidence. I hope he will be ready, not necessarily to play for 90 minutes but just to be involved in the squad.

"If he's okay, he can start. I don't think he will be able to play 90 minutes, but he can play part of the game - he can do that."

Ancelotti will also have Brazilian defender Alex and striker Nicolas Anelka fit again for the Sunderland game. Alex missed the win over Fulham with a knee injury while Anelka was troubled by a back problem.

Chelsea's 1-0 win leaves them with a four-point lead over second-placed Manchester United, after their scoreless draw with Manchester City.