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Kante’s recovery going better than expected, but Chelsea could still be short numbers against Watford

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Crystal Palace v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Antonio Conte, as he’s often wont to do, provided just about no actual information regarding the fitness levels of his players ahead of tomorrow’s must-win game against Watford. Both Tiemoue Bakayoko and David Luiz picked up minor injuries in Wednesday’s game, and subsequently missed Thursday’s training, but were back to being involved on Friday.

That said, Conte didn’t feel comfortable rating either as anything better than doubtful, with the real possibility of Cesc Fabregas being the only fit midfielder looming over the early kick-off tomorrow.

“Honestly, at the moment, I can tell you nothing about the starting 11 for tomorrow. We have many doubts. I hope in the next 24 hours to try to recover some players.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC

Saturday’s game will also come too early for both Danny Drinkwater and N’Golo Kante, though both former Leicester City midfielders are making good progress in their recovery and are eager to return to action. Or in Drinkwater’s case, simply make his Chelsea debut.

"Danny is progressing well. Now he has started to work, not with us but he has started to work in a part of the [training] session with us. Now it's very important for him to progress well and improve his physical condition.

"I think it's very important to recover him very well. If I try to put him on the pitch I will risk a player without good fitness, and then risk another injury.

"Maybe after 35 or 40 days, we must still have patience. Then wait for the right moment for him. The player is frustrated with this situation because he wants to play, but we must have patience and wait for the moment.”

-Antonio Conte; source: ESPN

And in even better news, though again not quite helpful for tomorrow’s game, N’Golo Kante could be back as early as next weekend!

“I hope to have N’Golo back soon, before the international break. He’s progressing well, the scan was better than before. If he is available before Manchester United and Roma I will be very happy.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC

But before those reinforcements arrive, we have to navigate tomorrow’s game and the midweek League Cup match against Everton.