Chelsea attacking midfielder Christopher Nkunku missed the 4-0 win over Preston North End in the FA Cup on Saturday due to a hip injury.
There have been conflicting reports as to when the Frenchman will return to fitness. Manager Mauricio Pochettino hinted it may be a “few games” before he makes his comeback but others have suggested that he could make the squad for the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg against Middlesbrough.
Benoit Badiashile was also absent for the Preston game. The defender has picked up an unspecified knock but Pochettino expects to have the centre-half back in contention within the next week. He should be available when the Blues take on Fulham next Saturday.
Ben Chilwell is back in training. The left-back has not played since late September after sustaining a hamstring injury. It was hoped that he would feature against Preston but Pochettino said he needed additional work to get back up to match fitness. The England international could be on the substitutes bench against either Middlesbrough or Fulham.
Carney Chukwuemeka is in the same boat as Chilwell. The midfielder has been absent since picking up a knee problem in the defeat to West Ham back in August.
Expected Return Date – Saturday 13th January
Romeo Lavia (thigh) and Lesley Ugochukwu (hamstring) are slightly further away from making their comebacks, with the latter set to be out for a few weeks.
Robert Sanchez’s recovery from a knee injury is taking slightly longer than hoped, while Trevoh Chalobah (hamstring) is not ready to return to training, having not played a single game this campaign.
Expected Return Date – Saturday 30th January
Marc Cucurella is likely to be available again in February following ankle surgery, while the likes of Reece James (hamstring) and Wesley Fofana (ACL) are long-term absentees, with the former pencilled in to make his comeback at some point in April.