Wesley Fofana is in line to return for Chelsea against Nottingham Forest this weekend, but Frank Lampard has confirmed he will be without five players due to injury.
The 22-year-old missed Chelsea’s 3-1 win over AFC Bournemouth last Saturday, which ended a run of six successive defeats, but Fofana did return to training this week in the build up for Saturday’s clash against Nottingham Forest who visit Stamford Bridge.
Fofana was spotted in club photos at their Cobham training base earlier this week and Lampard delivered a positive update which is set to see the central defender return to the side.
Ahead of the game, the Chelsea caretaker boss said: “Wes has been training this week, so he is good.”
Lewis Hall could come into the side after Ben Chilwell was ruled out following a hamstring problem, adding to the absences of English duo Reece James and Mason Mount, and also long-term injured forward Armando Broja.
Lampard confirmed: “Chilwell is not fit. We are hoping he will be fit possibly for the last game or two of the season. Mount is maybe a little bit similar, but Reece I think is slightly behind that. I feel for him (Chilwell), he wants to play and represent the club.
“We miss big players. Reece, Mason, Chilly are big internationals, successful with the club and I’ve not really had the benefit of them in this short period. Chilly a little bit, but Mason hasn’t really contributed at his top level where he has been fully fit.”
After blocking Hall from joining up with the England U20s squad for the U20 World Cup, Lampard added: “Lewis has a chance (of starting). I was tempted to put him on last week, but with the nature of the game I felt the experience of Azpi was more suitable at that point. I will view this game on its merits.
“I’ve been really impressed with his training. He’s a really good player, a really talented player.
“If anything, if there is one thing, he needs to come out of himself that bit more because he should really trust how good he is and feel at home with the group – I think he does feel that. Games I’ve watched from afar, I didn’t get to work with him before because he was younger, I have been really impressed. He hasn’t dampened that at all, the opposite. He’s in the running for the last four games to be involved.”
Lampard added on the decision to block Hall joining up with the England U20s: “It’s my decision that he needs to stay with us for the four games. We’ve got injuries with both of our left-backs who have been playing with us this season. It leaves us where we need and want Lewis.”
Kalidou Koulibaly (hamstring) and Marc Cucurella (thigh) are both also sidelined still, but Lampard offered a positive update on the Senegal international. Meanwhile, Cucurella could feature in the final week of the season.
“He’s trained with us the last couple of days, a little bit managed, not full training,” Lampard said on Koulibaly. “Again, looking at next week where we have three games in six days, so all of those, hopefully in contention. But will they be match fit is another question.”
He continued: “(Cucurella) won’t be fit for this game. Probably questionable, in line with the others, for the final week of the season.”
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