Chelsea captain Reece James is “closing in” on a return to full training, according to the Daily Mail.
The right-back has not played for the Blues since injuring his hamstring in the season opener against Liverpool last month.
James spoke out earlier this week to say that he is working hard on getting back to fitness, but he suggested an instant return to the first team was unlikely after completing his rehabilitation.
Even so, the Mail claim that the defender is hoping to step up his involvement in training ‘next week’, although the chances of him playing before the international break are low.
When could James play his next game for Chelsea?
The 23-year-old won’t be involved against Fulham on Monday night, and it is not expected that he will be in the matchday squad for the trip to Burnley on Saturday week either.
However, the home fixture versus Arsenal on October 21st is a possibility, as James would have an additional couple of weeks to regain full match sharpness.
Another key Chelsea player is now on the sidelines
Although it seems that James could be back in contention very soon, it is not such good news for Ben Chilwell. The vice-captain picked up his own hamstring injury in the 1-0 win over Brighton in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening.
The left-back is expected to be out for at least a month, but he has seemingly avoided an even longer layoff. There are, though, concerns among the club’s medical team that Chilwell has now suffered a third hamstring problem in the space of 12 months.
It is an unusually high number and it means that the 26-year-old’s recovery from his latest injury setback will have to be managed very carefully.