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Graham Potter handed huge Reece James fitness boost after Abu Dhabi training session involvement



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(Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Chelsea head coach Graham Potter was handed a welcome fitness boost on Monday after Reece James was involved in training at their Abu Dhabi facility.

The Blues flew out to the Middle East on Sunday night, arriving on Monday morning, for a warm weather camp before playing Aston Villa in a friendly on Sunday afternoon at the Al Nahyan Stadium.

They are preparing to resume their Premier League campaign on December 27 against AFC Bournemouth once the World Cup in Qatar concludes.

The break was a welcome sight for Chelsea after five league games in a row without a win (D2, L3), as well as dealing with several major injury problems.

James was one of those sidelined after sustaining a knee injury during their Champions League win over AC Milan back in October. It ultimately kept him out of this winter’s World Cup as England boss Gareth Southgate opted not to risk calling him up to the Three Lions’ squad.

However, there was confidence that James would return in time for the end of December after his intense rehabilitation plan which was set out with the Chelsea medical team.

He was part of the 25-man squad to travel out to the Middle East and it was reported that there were plans for the England international to train at some point with the first-team during their visit.

And that was the case from the off. Chelsea pictured James in training with his teammates, which would’ve been a huge boost for Potter as he hopes to select him when they face the Cherries in west London.

Chelsea will return to London next week to continue their final preparations for Bournemouth, but it appears James is now on the final stretch of his recovery as he aims to build his fitness.

Whether Potter will select him for the festive match the day after Boxing Day against Gary O’Neil’s side, only time will tell, but the 22-year-old is nearing a comeback which is only positive news for the Blues.