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Graeme Le Saux believes he will be back to full fitness in time for Kevin Keegan to consider taking him to Euro 2000.

The Chelsea left-back has been out of action for months while recovering from an ankle problem which eventually required surgery.

Despite Keegan's own doubts that he will struggle to be in contention for a place in his squad for this summer's tournament, the player has not given up hope.

Le Saux has set his sights on returning to the Chelsea side in time for the FA Cup Final and aims to land a place in Keegan's provisional squad before he trims it down to the 22 who will represent the England in Euro 2000 this summer.

Le Saux said: 'I haven't had a setback and I hope I can be fit. I haven't got a crystal ball but I'm not too far away from fitness.

Unless anything tragic happens, I'll be ready. I have faith in the people I'm working with, I know what problem I had and I know how well I'm doing.'

Le Saux will be absent from Chelsea's clash with Liverpool at Stamford Bridge this weekend.

It's a game which manager Gianluca Vialli knows they have to win or face the prospect of relinquishing all hope of gaining a Champions League place.

Vialli will also be without his assistant Graham Rix who is still not ready to return after suffering from a mystery virus.

Rix has been absent since he missed last week's 5-1 mauling by Barcelona but he is likely to return before the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Chelsea's managing director Colin Hutchinson believes that a Champions League place is now realistically outside their grasp.

Victory over Liverpool would keep those slim hopes alive but Hutchinson believes the reason for their failure to finish in the top three is because the club are victims of their own success.

Chelsea will finish the season having played more games than any other Premiership club, including 18 more than Liverpool.

That total does not include international games and Hutchinson reckons the amount of physical and mental pressure has taken its toll.

He said: 'Our league form has fallen away but these things sometimes happen because players are not robots.'

Nigerian star Celestine Babayaro is likely to return to the side while doubts remain over the fitness of Spanish full-back Albert Ferrer.

Vialli will have to wait until nine members of his squad return from international duty to learn if any of them have picked up injuries.

Meanwhile, Norwegian striker Tore Andre Flo has hinted he would listen to any offer from PSV Eindhoven if rumours of their interest in him were to be confirmed.

However, that prospect is now unlikely following the collapse of Manchester United's £18million transfer of striker Ruud van Nistelrooy from PSV yesterday.

Flo said: 'It is true that I would prefer to stay in England and I like it at Chelsea, but I'm flattered that PSV show interest. When they want a talk, I will certainly be positive to them.'
 
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Discussion Starter #3
England need Le Saux on the troubled left side. He's the best on that position so far.
 
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