Having previously hinted that Ross Barkley could be available to tomorrow’s FA Cup third round replay against Norwich City, Antonio Conte revealed in his pre-match press conference earlier today that the new signing is actually ineligible.
The rule that nobody seemed to be aware until today is that eligibility for a replay is determined by eligibility for the original game. So unlike all the various rounds of the FA Cup, which require teams to register squads before midday of the day before, the replay is considered to be basically an extension of the original fixture. In a way that makes sense, but it’s quite frustrating as Barkley had been expected to make his debut in this game. Instead, he’s set for a closed-doors friendly at Cobham as he bids to make the squad for the weekend.
“We are preparing a friendly game for him [Barkley] during this week, and then we will see his physical condition, but I am very happy for his commitment and his physical condition, and he could be ready for the next game.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
Barkley missed the original Friday midday deadline of the third round match by less than five hours.