Cahill vows to hold off Zouma in selection battle

England defender Cahill will resume his partnership with Chelsea skipper John Terry when the Premier League leaders face west London rivals QPR at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

But having started alongside the 20-year-old Zouma in the narrow midweek League Cup victory over minnows Shrewsbury, Cahill acknowledges the young France under-21 international is pressing for more regular action.

"He's a big guy; he's strong, powerful, good in the air and a fantastic talent

He's a great guy off the pitch and every time he's been asked to play he's done really well," Cahill said.

"I've always felt pushed since I've been at the club

You never feel like the shirt is yours, there's always somebody either in front of you or right behind you and that's the way it is throughout your career.

"Kurt's a fantastic player and a great option for the manager to have, and obviously Branislav Ivanovic can play centre-back as well."

Jose Mourinho's side stuttered against Shrewsbury before eventually dispatching the fourth tier team and the manager made it clear he was underwhelmed by the performance of some of the fringe players.

Andre Schurrle and Mohamed Salah both had a difficult time and are unlikely to make the starting line-up against a QPR side boosted by Monday's victory over Aston Villa that moved them off the foot of the Premier League table.

Chelsea remain top but missed out on the chance to move six points clear when Robin van Persie's late equaliser denied Mourinho's team victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford last weekend.

- Take nothing for granted -

On paper, this should be the ideal game for the Blues to return to winning ways in the league, although Cahill insists they can take nothing for granted.

"I thought we played well against Manchester United but obviously there was disappointment right at the end," he said.

"On Saturday it's another home game to look forward to, but QPR are coming off the back of a good result

I watched them on Monday and they were great so yet again it's another tough game in the Premier League.

"We have to prepare right, rest up after the Shrewsbury game and make sure we're ready."

Chelsea striker Diego Costa is back in full training and should return to the starting line-up with Didier Drogba returning to the bench, while Cesar Azpilicueta is again suspended.

Charlie Austin scored twice to give QPR a much-needed win against Villa and reinforce manager Harry Redknapp's believe his side can stay up.

However, they will face Chelsea without experienced defender Rio Ferdinand after the centre-back was suspended for three matches and fined £25,000 by the Football Association for a comment he made on social media.

Redknapp moved to defend the former England international and said: "I've not had many footballers behave better off the pitch than Rio -- both on the pitch and off the pitch

I don't have any problems with the way Rio conducts himself."

Adel Taarabt could return to the Rangers squad after Redknapp insisted he had resolved his public fall-out with the player.

The manager criticised Taarabt's fitness levels but said: "He came to see me on Monday and we had a great chat.

"He admitted he needed to get fitter: he wants to get fit, wants to play, wants to get back in the team, and that's all I needed to hear from him.

"He's got fantastic ability, and it would be one the great crimes in football if he doesn't realise that.

"I wouldn't hesitate to put him in the squad for the Chelsea game, he's trained well."

Source : AFP