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Christopher Nkunku: Chelsea injury return timeline as Mauricio Pochettino handed huge Carabao Cup boost



(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Chelsea could welcome back Christopher Nkunku for their crucial Carabao Cup semi-final second leg tie against Middlesbrough next week.

The 26-year-old is yet to feature for Chelsea in 2024 after suffering a hip injury in training, which has offered concern to head coach Mauricio Pochettino amid discussions over a potential new striker needing to be acquired this month.

No decision has been made over a new forward, with the likes of Victor Osimhen of Napoli, Sporting CP’s Viktor Gyökeres and Aston Villa striker Jhon Durán all linked.

Chelsea currently only have Armando Broja available as a recognised centre-forward, with Nicolas Jackson away with Senegal at the African Cup of Nations.

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

But Pochettino could have Nkunku back for their next match against Middlesbrough next Tuesday at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea are desperate to overturn a one goal deficit, following a 1-0 defeat to the Championship side at the Riverside Stadium earlier this month, in a bid to reach next month’s Wembley final where they would face either Liverpool or Fulham.

As revealed by Nizaar Kinsella of the Evening Standard, Nkunku is hoping to return to training this week and the France international is ‘optimistic he will be fit’ for the Middlesbrough tie.

Chelsea return to their Cobham training ground after being given three days off having beaten Fulham in the Premier League to boost their European qualification hopes come the end of the season.

“We need to give some rest to the players and the staff also because it is a really busy period now and they need to breathe a little bit,” admitted Pochettino. “This break is very useful.

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

“Then we are going to prepare. We have seven days to prepare for the second leg against Middlesbrough on Tuesday and then on Friday in the FA Cup against Aston Villa, and then Wednesday again in the Premier League.

“Three games in three different competitions – but I think they need three days off. They need to revive, so it is important and then they can attack the second half of the season.

“Too many of our players are going to be involved in March with the international break and too many competitions that they now need to have some break.”