By Chelsea correspondent Tony Hughes

Thibaut Courtois is set to hand Chelsea a timely boost by returning to the team in early December, Football Insider sources understand.

The Belgian goalkeeper is targeting the team’s 9 December Champions League clash with Porto for his comeback.

Courtois, 23, has been out of action since undergoing surgery on a serious knee injury he sustained in September. Football Insider revealed on 12 September that the Chelsea No1 would be sidelined for three months.

Courtois has missed 14 matches since his last appearance, which was a 2-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace on 29 August.

The Belgium international is expected to miss another four matches, including the Premier League clashes with Norwich, Tottenham and Bournemouth, and the Champions League fixture against Maccabi Tel Aviv.

But he is now kicking balls again and stepping up his recovery work with the club’s fitness and goalkeeping staff.

Courtois revealed last week he is now walking freely, and hopes to come back “even stronger” from his injury setback.

Deputy Asmir Begovic has performed impressively during Chelsea’s wretched run of results this season, but the Bosnian has kept just four clean sheets and conceded 19 goals.

In other Chelsea news, manager Jose Mourinho has been given a stay of execution following talks with owner Roman Abramovich.