Antonio Conte will include Ross Barkley in his match day squad for the first time when Chelsea take on Norwich City in their FA Cup third round replay tomorrow evening.
The January signing, who joined from Everton in a £15 million deal, has yet to feature for his new club as he continues to battle back to full fitness from the hamstring injury that has kept him out all season.
But the England international is expected to feature at Stamford Bridge tomorrow as Chelsea look to book a meeting with Newcastle United in round four.
Speaking about Barkley before the weekend, Conte said: “We must be satisfied for his physical condition. He is working very hard in these days and I think maybe the next game against Norwich he could be in available and in contention.”
David Luiz is also set to be included in the squad – as are youngsters Ethan Ampadu, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Dujon Sterling.
One player who will not be involved for the Blues in west London is Gary Cahill, who limped off during the draw with Leicester City at the weekend.
“Cahill was a muscular problem,” said Conte. “But not a serious problem. It’s good news. I don’t know the time he needs to recover, but it’s not serious.”
Conte will field a strong team for tonight’s replay, but will make changes from the side that drew against Leicester at the weekend – with the Chelsea boss admitting several of his star names looked jaded during the contest.
“I saw a lot of players very tired,” said the Blues boss. I think we played with tiredness. We suffered a lot in the first half and at the start of the second half.”
Provisional Chelsea squad: Courtois, Caballero, Ampadu, Rudiger, Moses, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Christensen, Zappacosta, Fabregas, Barkley, Hudson-Odoi, Drinkwater, Kante, Bakayoko, Sterling, Alonso, Willian, Hazard, Pedro, Morata.
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