Belfast Telegraph

Diego Costa set for Chelsea recall and keen to stay according to Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte insists Diego Costa is happy at Chelsea and has no doubts over the striker's commitment to the Premier League title bid.

The 28-year-old missed last weekend's win at Leicester with a back injury amid reports of a bust-up with Conte and his backroom staff.

Costa has also been linked with a move to the Chinese Super League, but is available to return at home against Hull on Sunday.

"Yes. He's available for the game against Hull City," Conte said.

"He restarted having training sessions on Tuesday with the rest of the team.

"I think the player wants to stay at Chelsea. He's very happy to play with us. This idea (to move) is far from his mind.

"Diego is a good player. He's a good person. Now he's only focused on Chelsea and to play with us and to continue to help us.

"He missed only one game, the last game. Now he's ready to come back with us.

"I'm sure about his commitment, his behaviours, his will to fight with this team, to try together to fight to the end to try to win the title."

Chelsea have a seven-point lead entering this weekend's fixtures.

Costa, who has scored 14 Premier League goals in 19 games, has also been linked with a return to Atletico Madrid and a switch to Barcelona.

Conte was asked if Chelsea should try to tie Costa down to an extended contract to end speculation over his future.

"I think now it's better to be focused, to be concentrated on the present, not on the future," he added.

"Now it's important to have this four months in a very strong way. Then we'll see."

Costa's selection is not guaranteed, although his only two absences in the Premier League this season were when he was unavailable - suspended against Bournemouth and injured last week.

Eden Hazard played the central role in a front three with Pedro and Willian against Leicester, and Chelsea won 3-0, just as they did against the Cherries on Boxing Day.

Conte has reported no new injuries, but club captain John Terry is available following suspension and could return to the substitutes' bench.

Hull head coach Marco Silva could hand a debut to defender Omar Elabdellaoui at Stamford Bridge.

The Norway international right-back, who worked under Silva at Olympiacos, arrived at the KCOM Stadium this week on a deal until the end of the season.

"We haven't been able to play with a natural right-back since I arrived here and so it is a position we needed to find a solution for," Silva told the club's official website.

"Omar is a player I know and he has come here to help improve our squad."

Silva could also give full debuts to striker Oumar Niasse and midfielder Evandro.

Niasse, on loan from Everton until the end of the season, and Evandro, signed for an undisclosed fee from Porto, made their debuts off the bench in last week's home win against Bournemouth.

Silva is hoping to further strengthen his squad but will bid to keep the Tigers in the top flight without midfielder Jake Livermore, whose permanent move to West Brom, for a reported fee of around £10million, was confirmed on Friday morning.

A midfield replacement is now a top priority for Silva, who revealed he did not want Livermore to leave the club.

"If you asked me if I wanted to lose Jake, my answer is no," Silva said. "Of course he was a very important player for us and it's never good when you lose an important player.

"But it was a very good proposal for him and the club have a good proposal also. The deal is closed. This is football.

"What we need in this moment is to find a quick replacement for this player because we've lost an important one."

Winger Robert Snodgrass is an injury doubt for the trip to London, while midfielder David Meyler is hoping to be in contention after returning to training.

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