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Potter handed huge N’Golo Kante fitness boost as Chelsea role vs Aston Villa confirmed



(Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

Chelsea have been provided a huge fitness boost after Graham Potter confirmed N’Golo Kante’s role against Aston Villa on Saturday evening.

The Frenchman has been on the sidelines since suffering a hamstring injury in Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge all the way back in August.

Kante underwent hamstring surgery and has made his long-awaited return to training in recent weeks, before making the bench against Everton. He featured in a 60 minute cameo against Charlton Athletic during the international break to build up his match fitness.

Now the 31-year-old will be available once again for Chelsea when Aston Villa make the trip to the capital.

Ahead of the Premier League clash, Potter outlined the plans for Kante’s involvement for the Saturday’s fixture against Aston Villa as well as for the rest of the season.

“We have to manage that as the next stage for us because he’s been out for so long. The minutes and building those minutes in the Premier League.” Potter went on to say.

“He’s been training well and he’s had some behind closed doors time and he’s available in the squad and I’m pretty sure he will be on the pitch at some point tomorrow (Saturday).”

Kante joined the club from Leicester City in 2016, winning almost everything possible in the process with the League Cup the only accolade missing from his illustrious list of achievements.

He also picked up The PFA Player of The Year award in 2017 after helping Chelsea lift the Premier League title under Antonio Conte, the man who brought him to the club.

However, the industrial central midfielder has been hampered by fitness issues in the past few seasons and has only made three appearances so far this campaign.

The Chelsea manager is clearly approaching the situation with caution and is probably wise to do so, with Ben Chilwell, Wesley Fofana and Reece James all suffering multiple injury setbacks throughout the season.

Potter will also be all too aware of what Kante can bring to knockout fixtures having watched the Frenchman pick up multiple Player of the Match awards along the way to Chelsea’s second Champions League trophy two seasons ago.

And with a European quarter-final tie against 14 times winners and current holders Real Madrid on the horizon, the Blues will be hoping Kante can repeat his heroics of 2021 in the coming months.