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Pulisic and Christensen in race to be match fit; Ziyech and Werner slow integration planned

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Gametime decisions for Pulisic and Christensen

Chelsea Training and Press Conference Photo by Tess Derry/PA Images via Getty Images

Fourth place Chelsea are set to take on West Ham United tomorrow night as our quest for a top-four (or even top-three!) finish continues. Last Thursday’s win against Manchester City helped maintain a five-point gap to Manchester United while Leicester City are now just a point ahead.

Needless to say, a win in this London derby would be crucial not just because of the rivalry, but for strengthening our hold on the Champions League spots.

Unfortunately, we might have to do it without the star of the Project Restart so far, Christian Pulisic, who’s facing a fitness test after picking up a small issue in his calf in Sunday’s FA Cup quarterfinal. Christensen, too, is facing a fitness test.

"Christian felt a bit of tightness in his calf when he came off against Leicester. We’re managing him. I haven’t got an answer for him yet, it feels better than it did at the end of the game, so we’ll see by tomorrow.

"Andreas Christensen likewise is in the squad, but we will have to see with another 24 hours because of the tight turnaround."

- Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC

Joining tomorrow ahead of the game will be Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, who will officially become Chelsea players on July 1. While they won’t be eligible to play for Chelsea in any competition, in either England or Europe, until next season, Lampard might consider pulling them into the squad for training.

Given that Ziyech hasn’t played in a few months due to the Dutch league’s cancellation and Werner just finished playing last weekend in the final round of the German league, they will follow individual plans to achieve and maintain proper fitness levels ahead of September, when next season is expected to start.

"They’re both in different positions in the fact that Hakim hasn’t played for a long time because of the Dutch league situation [being abandoned and declared void in April] and obviously Timo finished at the weekend.

"We will formulate a plan for them which will look slightly different individually. I’ll decide in the meantime how it looks at the training ground, whether that means mixing with the squad or whether it means some physical work in the shorter-term.

"They will have a longer break than the players we’ve already got in the squad so I’ll take that firmly into account and when I feel it’s the right time to bring them in and around the squad this season, I can do that. If not, the absolute priority is making sure they’re ready for next season."

-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC

But first, we must focus on the current season at hand!