Ross Barkley enjoyed his first taste of Chelsea action on Thursday, scoring twice in a behind-closed-doors friendly against QPR.
The £15million arrival from Everton helped himself to a double in a 3-2 win at Chelsea’s Surrey training ground despite, understandably, looking short of match fitness.
England international Barkley has not featured at all for club or country this season but is fit again after undergoing surgery on his leg muscle before his January 5 move to Stamford Bridge.
But now, barring any soreness or issues with his hamstring on Friday, he is set to be in the Blues’ squad for the clash with Brighton on Saturday.
Antonio Conte has still yet to win a game over ninety minutes in 2018 with all five of their matches so far drawn. Three of those games have finished goalless.
And there have been suggestions that the scouser could be given his head by the Blues as a centre-forward, with Conte having admitted his hope that Barkley would provide the strikes they badly need.
The Blues boss said: “I think he has the quality to score more goals. My priority before that is to convince the player to work for the team.
“If you are able to work for the team, the team then exalt your characteristics. We are talking about a talented player and we are happy to have him in our squad.”
If named, Barkley is likely to be on the bench, with Eden Hazard set to start as the focal point of the Blues’ attack.
Both Alvaro Morata and Pedro are suspended, and Conte could again decide not to place his trust in Michy Batshuayi.