The long-awaited returns of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James from respective Achilles and ankle surgeries are close at hand, with Chelsea manager Frank Lampard confirming that the teenage duo will take part in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup third round match against Grimsby Town.
Both players had missed all of preseason, but had been back in first-team training for the past month or so, and have made a couple appearances for Chelsea’s reserves/development squad in PL2 matches.
“[Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James] be involved on Wednesday night.
“We need to look at players that haven’t been playing so much. We will pay Grimsby due respect but it certainly is minutes for certain players that haven’t been there.”
The match should be a fantastic opportunity to rest, rotate, and perhaps introduce even a few more youngsters — Marc Guehi, Ian Maatsen, Billy Gilmour, just to name a few — though we do have to ensure that we get the job done and get Lampard his also long-awaited first win at Stamford Bridge in any competition as manager.
“Call is on the road to recovery - it’s a long injury so he needs game time, Reece similarly. There will be some changes but I expect the same level of performance.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
Given Chelsea’s injury woes so far this season, it would be wise to continue taking things slowly and assuredly. Once fully fit, James will be expected to provide much-needed depth and competition to César Azpilicueta at right back, while Callum Hudson-Odoi will be very much expected to live up to his massive new contract and associated hype.