Antonio Conte has confirmed that N'Golo Kante is edging closer to making a return to action with the Chelsea boss suggesting that he is only waiting for the "right moment" to reintegrate the Frenchman into his team.
Kante has not played since suffering a hamstring injury while on international duty during France's 1-0 victory over Bulgaria on 7 October.
However, last week Conte revealed Kante was in line to return ahead of schedule after a second scan provided a much more positive diagnosis.
The Italian boss has reiterated that goods news after the Blues secured a 2-1 victory over Everton on Wednesday night (25 October) to book a place in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
"He's progressing well. I am very happy because I saw him in a good physical condition. At this moment we have to find the strength to keep calm and find the right moment to put him in the team," Conte said in the press conference following the win over Everton. "Now it will be very easy now to tell him to play but we have to find the best solution for him. He is ready."
It is still uncertain whether Kante will be fully fit to face Bournemouth on Saturday (28 October) but Conte's quotes suggest that last season's PFA Player of the Year should be at least ready for the crucial encounters against Roma in the Champions League (31 October) and United.
Meanwhile, Conte was handed another boost during the victory over Everton with Danny Drinkwater making his first appearances for Chelsea since joining the Blues from Leicester on deadline day.
The England international started in the middle alongside 17-year-old Ethan Ampadu before being replaced by Cesc Fabregas in the 62nd minute.
Conte was delighted with Drinkwater's performance but the boss warned that the summer signing won't be 100% fit until after the international break which will come after the visit of United.
"We will have three games before the international break and to see him fit 100% may be after the international break," the Chelsea boss added. "I can count him in games now. If I decide to play with three midfielders, it's very important."