Frank Lampard 'hopeful' that N'Golo Kante can return to full training next week

Matt Debono

The Frenchman missed the win over Reading as he continues to rehabilitate from his knee injury, which led him to return home early of the Blues' visit of Japan.

Talking post-match, Lampard was hoping that the 28-year-old could return to full training next week: "Yeah I am hopeful. He is training. He has dipped into training with us in the last couple of days.

"There is a lot more that he needs to do physically, off without us that he can do without any contact which has been good. But the signs are good in the last three days that we have been back.

"It was certainly the right decision for him to come back here and get the treatment that he had. I expect him to be training through the week with us to the point that next week he should be fully training."

In his absence, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho have built a solid relationship in the midfield pivot, and with Kante set to return, the Blues boss was asked whether he'd come back into the side for the trip to Old Trafford.

"That one I will have to assess next week, and see how it is. A natural base of fitness yes, but there is also 50 to 60 odd games coming this season so I have to make sure I make the right call on that because the players here have been training very hard," Lampard added.

"So if he is training at the start of next week then it is purely for me and the staff to assess where he is at.

"He is a top class player, so however much you want him in, at the same time you have to make sure he is as fit as he can be when he comes back."

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