Chelsea captain John Terry hopes to be back in the Blues’ starting line-up when the team travel to Southampton today, dreaming of the giddy heights of the top half of the table.

JT limped off the pitch just before Valentine’s Day after suffering a muscular twinge in his hamstring midway through Chelsea’s 5-1 victory over Newcastle.

But he has now resumed full training, and was upbeat when he popped in to the press room for a natter ahead of last weekend’s immensely entertaining demolition of Manchester City in the FA Cup.

For a team struggling to make headway in the league, the Blues have – remarkably – achieved 5-1 wins in three of their past six games.

With each match looking increasingly like a masked ball (Cesar Azpilicueta and Diego Costa both wear Lone Ranger wrap-arounds to protect their hooters), the only disappointment from Sunday’s thrashing of City was that more players are not opting to wear Fulham Road fancy dress.

Gary Cahill tried to become the third "masketeer" after twice being elbowed in the face by opponents… but perhaps the club has run out of masks, because all he was offered by the medics was a face-full of cold sponge and a plug of tissue up the nostril.

Chelsea could have humiliated City by six, seven or even eight in the win which teed up a quarter-final clash against Everton at Goodison.

Manuel Pellegrini’s decision to give five teenagers their debuts certainly helped, but it was the outstanding passing and nippy interplay between Cesc Fabregas, Jon Obi Mikel and Eden Hazard that did the damage.

City, wearing a kit that made them look like green highlighter pens, capitulated in the second half as Willian, Cahill, Hazard and Bertrand Traore added to Diego Costa’s first-half opener, and Oscar could even shrug off missing a penalty.

The Blues’ keenly anticipated visit to Anfield on March 13 will now have to be rearranged as the cup run continues.