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Lampard playing his way to deal - Cech

CHELSEA goalkeeper Petr Cech believes there could be a twist to come in the saga of whether Frank Lampard stays at the club beyond the summer.

It has appeared the long-serving midfielder is on his way out of the club he joined from West Ham in the summer of 2001, with Chelsea unwilling to offer him a new contract.

Lampard has been heavily linked with the Los Angeles Galaxy, but Cech thinks he will have a case to ask for an extension to his expiring deal if he gives performances such as the one that helped Chelsea to a 4-0 win at Stoke on Saturday.

Cech said: "There are still six months to go until the end of the season so we will see whether he stays or not.

"I'm not a director but if he keeps playing like that he will keep asking about the extension."

If Lampard does leave Chelsea in the summer it is increasingly possible he will do so as the club's all-time leading goalscorer.

The England midfielder, who turns 35 in June, increased his tally to 194 with a penalty against Stoke, moving him clear of Kerry Dixon in second place and only eight behind record holder Bobby Tambling.

Chelsea interim boss Rafael Benitez appears to have no say in the decision, and again on Saturday he insisted the uncertainty is not causing a problem.

"I have talked about this 100 times now," Benitez said. "He's under contract, he's a good player. He has to keep performing and he's fine. I think it's not an issue at the moment."

Saturday's win lifted Chelsea back above Tottenham into third place and they will play their game in hand on top-two Man United and Manchester City against Southampton on Wednesday before a home clash with Arsenal next weekend.

Meanwhile, Stoke City stopper Asmir Begovic is confident that Republic of Ireland international Jonathan Walters will bounce back from his horror-show against Chelsea.

Walters headed into his own net either side of half-time to gift the Blues a 2-0 lead before earning and then spurning a penalty late on that would have provided the striker some consolation on the occasion of 100th Premier League appearance.

"It is hard to take because I don't think we played too badly," Begovic said. "Jon was hugely unfortunate with his own goals, there was a dubious penalty and Hazard hits a wonder goal from 30-yards."

Stoke boss Tony Pulis echoed Begovic's sentiments. "We all have bad days," Pulis said. "He had a bad day in terms of things not going his way but he was still brave enough to pick the ball up and take the penalty, which is what he is all about."