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Chelsea fitness update: Rüdiger, Kovacic, Pedro fit; Kanté still out; Hudson-Odoi, James playing with U23;

Closer to a fully fit squad

Chelsea FC Training Session and Press Conference Photo by Clive Howes - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Slowly but surely, the injury storm that has been hanging over Chelsea is moving past. Ahead of a very important match against a side as annoying as Wolverhampton Wanderers, this certainly should bode well for Frank Lampard’s team, who are still finding their feet.

Two players who might be key in figuring out just what Chelsea are all about this season are Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James, both whom have been out since the start of the summer. Fortunately, they’re getting close to first-team action, and they are set to play for the U23 team against Brighton tonight as one of the final steps of their recovery.

“Callum is going to play for the Under-23s this evening along with Reece James.

“They will get minutes and it’s important now because Callum has been training with us for a while but there are still issues that we need to make sure are OK with the injury itself, in terms of the strength and where the injury is. He’ll need to get match fit, which is why these games are really beneficial for him. It will be great to see that.

”Reece James is similar, not such a long time out but he needs games for similar reasons.”

“I’m pleased with that. They are two young players that are going to be big for this club going forward and we’ll all be watching tonight.”

Another very important player, a regular in our starting elevens ever since arriving two years ago, who’s set for a return is centre back Antonio Rüdiger. The German international has been out since the end of last season with his latest knee injury/surgery, but he’s now fit, having already made his U23 rehab start before the international break. He’s going to be a vital player once again this season and his return should be a boost for the defensive line.

“Rüdiger is fit to play. That’s a choice for myself [whether he starts].

“He will have an important role. I know he has been important for the club and team since he has been here. Personality, character, quality. He is an international defender and we have missed him. As we have missed a few front line players who will strengthen us as a group. I am certainly pleased to have him back.”

Two other returnees are midfielder Mateo Kovacic and forward Pedro, from their respective minor knocks.

“Kovacic is fit to play. [...] Pedro is fine too, yes.”

However, one key piece of the puzzle will still be missing. N’Golo Kanté is still carrying a problem in his ankle, and the team want to make sure he’s fully fit before pushing him too much.

“N’Golo is not fit yet. He still has issues with his ankle. The medical team are working with [Kanté]. He is in a transition period and we are trying to get him on the pitch.

“He is doing some physical work but this game comes too soon for him. Hopefully [Kanté] is close. I don’t want to jump the gun because we are waiting for improvements for that final step to get him where we want him to be on the pitch.”

“Hopefully [Kanté’s return] will be in the next week or so, and again, alongside Rudiger, Willian, Callum and Ruben. They are big players who are really going to up our level because they will compete to play.”

-Frank Lampard; Source:

Lampard did not provide an update on Emerson, though he did not train this week and presumably will be out of contention after picking up a hamstring strain during international duty. Still, it is mostly good news after a cycle of setbacks with regards to fitness at Chelsea.

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