Chelsea schedule friendly match as N’Golo Kante injury return timeline mapped out

·2-min read
Chelsea schedule friendly match as N’Golo Kante injury return timeline mapped out

Chelsea have scheduled a friendly at the club's training ground this week to help the likes of N’Golo Kante hit the ground running after the international break.

Kante was on Saturday named in Chelsea's squad for the first time since being injured against Tottenham last August as he looks to play a part in the club's season run-in.

Chelsea have at least 13 more games remaining of their campaign, 11 in the Premier League and a Champions League quarter-final double-header against Real Madrid, with success in Europe their key focus after a dismal domestic season. The Blues were left disappointed to see their three-match win streak halted by Everton in the final game before the international break and know there is plenty more hard work to be done.

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The cost of dropping two further points will likely be severely felt come the end of the season having also squandered chances against relegation-threatened Southampton, West Ham and Nottingham Forest, and the task does not get easier. Seven teams of Chelsea’s remaining 11 league matches are against teams above them in the Premier League.

As Kante works on a return to match fitness, Chelsea are concerned by the fitness of defender Wesley Fofana, who has had to withdraw from the France squad and is now in a race to face Aston Villa after the international break. Fellow centre-back Thiago Silva is already sidelined for the foreseeable.

With so many players in their expensively assembled squad now jetting out on international duty, Chelsea manager Graham Potter is keen to get those left at Cobham in the best shape possible for the season-defining final weeks of term.

"N'Golo's due to carry on training Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with potentially a game to give him some minutes," Potter said. "We're still planning [who the friendly will be against] but I think it will probably be internal. That will be good.

"We need to control it as much as we can and then I think we've got about four players [not on international duty], so it is what it is.

"We have to hope players come back injury free and that we use the break to refresh and prepare for a really hectic April."