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Lampard targets Carabao Cup match for Callum Hudson-Odoi return


Chelsea FC v Brighton and Hove Albion - Premier League 2 Photo by Clive Howes - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

The Evening Standard has a creative headline about Callum Hudson-Odoi being "in contention" for Chelsea's Champions League match against Valencia on Tuesday.

But that sounds a bit far-fetched. Here's what Lampard actually said:

”I spoke with him this morning. He’s not far off. We have to be careful because it was a big injury and what we’ve done is actually got him back out on time but we have to make sure the strength is right in the area, because that could lead to other injuries if we go too soon.”

“The way he played [on Friday], I think he’s not far away. He’s been training with us now for two or three weeks. We’ve got the Carabao Cup coming the midweek next and that will maybe be an opportunity to look at players who have been injured or different options.

”In between, if players, if Callum, shows this week how good he is in training I’ll have to consider him probably from now on.”

–Frank Lampard; source: Evening Standard

The more salacious read is that Callum could force his way into the team with a couple good performances in training between Sunday and our re-entry into the Champions League against Valencia on Tuesday.

But as Frank said, and as is more important to Callum’s long-term health, and thus success, it is a comeback that will need to be managed with requisite precaution, and common sense reservations. As such we probably shouldn’t get our hopes up of Lampard chucking Hudson-Odoi on in his Champions League managerial debut, as the teenager has only completed sixty-one minutes in a U23 match.

Surely, there are other steps to take, and one glaring one seems to be the following week’s Wednesday night clash with Grimsby Town in the Carabao Cup.

Of course, Lamps has caught me unawares before so given that I’m writing this with a certain measure of assuredness might mean you can pencil Callum into Tuesday’s XI. But I also hope not, Pedro is nearing a return and Pulisic didn’t play at the weekend — there should be no need to rush Callum.

Whichever week it proves to be will mark an incredible recovery from an Achilles injury suffered in late April. Either way it doesn’t look like we have long to wait to see Callum back in Blue and back on the pitch.

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