Frank Lampard has confirmed youngsters Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James will return to action for Chelsea U23s against Brighton on Friday night.
Hudson-Odoi made a big impression on the Blues’ first-team last season but was sidelined toward the end of the campaign with a ruptured Achilles.
Five things to know about Lampard’s fitness boost…
- Lampard has spoken highly of both Hudson-Odoi and James in the past.
- But both have been sidelined with injury so far this season.
- Cesar Azpilicueta has come under fire already this season and many are tipping James to replace him.
- Lampard has confirmed Hudson-Odoi and James will feature for Chelsea’s U23 side on Friday.
- Hudson-Odoi managed four goals and two assists in just nine Europa League appearances last season.
James, meanwhile, suffered an ankle injury while on international duty with England U20s over the summer but is thought to be at the forefront of Lampard’s plans after impressing on loan at Wigan Athletic in the Championship last season.
But Lampard has confirmed that both players have made big strides toward fitness and will get some minutes under their belts on Friday.
“Callum is going to play for the U23s this evening along with Reece James,” Lampard told reporters.
“They’ll get minutes, which is important now. Callum has been training for a while but there are some issues we need to make sure we’re okay with – the actual injury itself.
“He’ll need to get match fit so these games are really beneficial for him. They’re two young players that are going to be big for this club going forward – we’ll be watching.”
The new Chelsea manager also provided an update on some more senior members of his squad, confirmed Mateo Kovacic will be fit to face Wolves on Saturday, but admitting this game has come a little too early for French midfielder N’Golo Kante, who is recovering from an ankle problem.
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Lampard added: “N’Golo is not fit, Kovacic is. This game has come too soon for him, hopefully close. We are waiting for that final step, but hopefully, that will be the same time.”
Chelsea have had a tough start to the season under Lampard, winning just one of their four Premier League games so far.
They face a Wolves side on Saturday who have only lost one game so far but are yet to pick up three points in the new campaign.