Chelsea take on second division Preston North End in the FA Cup third round tomorrow, but Mauricio Pochettino isn’t expecting to rotate his squad too much. However, his hand may be forced in some respects, given our continuing injury issues, as well as the upcoming busy schedule, with a cup semifinal and a league match to follow within the next seven days.
Pochettino did have some good news with regards to injuries in his pre-match press conference, though none that would directly impact the Preston game.
“Chilwell and Carney are not available for tomorrow. We will see for the next game, Middlesbrough semi-final or Fulham. They are doing well, training with the group the last few days, we are happy with their evolution.
“Lavia is recovering after his injury. We don’t know when he will be available again. Problem in his quad during the game against Palace. Benoît I think is going to be available for next week.
“[And] Christoph is not going to start tomorrow because he suffered some issues during the week but he is going to be in the squad. We need to be careful with him like I told you. Six months where he didn’t compete and when he starts to compete it’s not the same.”
So, to recap, Nkunku only on the bench, Lavia and Badiashile still out, and Chilwell and Chukwuemeka back next week.
One player whom Pochettino didn’t mention was Lesley Ugochukwu, who reportedly suffered a setback in his hamstring rehab and will be out for the next six weeks.
Could that increase the likelihood that Andrey Santos, having returned from his useless loan at Nottingham Forest, stays with us for the rest of the season?
“We are always every single day talking and assessing the squad. Now the market is open and I think some players we own, like Andrey Santos that has come back from his loan at Nottingham Forest, we need to take some decisions.
“I think I am happy with the squad I have, we are focused on trying to recover the players as soon as possible. We are assessing things, we see the squad and if we see some possibility maybe we can do or not but at the moment we didn’t take any decisions.”
-Mauricio Pochettino; source: Football.London
So you’re saying there is a chance?