Forgotten man and Nkunku train, James hope - 5 things spotted in Chelsea training for Tottenham

Reece James was in good spirits in Chelsea training ahead of Thursday's match against Tottenham
Reece James was in good spirits in Chelsea training ahead of Thursday's match against Tottenham -Credit:Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

It's a big few days coming up for Mauricio Pochettino and his Chelsea team as they prepare for a showdown against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge. Victorious at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in early November following a 4-1 win in N17, the Blues will be looking to make it a double over Ange Postecoglou's side when they go head-to-head in Thursday's 7.30pm kick-off.

Gaining an impressive point at Aston Villa on Saturday evening, Chelsea go into the game with the chance to close to within two points of Newcastle United in seventh providing that they claim a victory. If indeed they do that, they will leapfrog West Ham and move into eight in the Premier League table.

Ahead of Thursday's crunch London derby, Chelsea have been putting in the work at the club's Cobham training. Here are five things we spotted in the team's latest training session.

James all smiles

Reece James will be hoping to feature for Chelsea before the season is out after such a frustrating campaign through injury. The 24-year-old has only made nine appearances to date in 2023/24, with his last coming in December's 2-0 defeat at Everton as he limped off after 27 minutes with a hamstring injury.

Having undergone surgery to try and correct the problem, James has now returned to the training pitch but Pochettino mentioned ahead of the Aston Villa game that he is not available yet and he has been doing some partial training with the squad.

James was all smiles in Monday's training session as he could be seen laughing and joking with Pochettino and assistant coach Jesus Perez. Other photos showed James on the ball in what appeared to be a possession-based game as he works his way back to full fitness.

READ MORE: Thiago Silva sends emotional Chelsea message after club make transfer statement

READ MORE: Mauricio Pochettino may hand Chelsea lifeline to 'quality' Noni Madueke deputy praised by Pele

Forgotten man involved

Like James, Lesley Ugochukwu has also been on the sidelines since December with a hamstring injury and perhaps could be viewed as a bit of a forgotten man due to his lack of game time. The French midfielder has recently returned to partial team training and he will be intent on playing some part for the Blues before the 2023/24 season comes to a close.

The 20-year-old could be seen working with the ball at Cobham as he took on youngsters Cesare Casadei and Kiano Dyer in a training drill.

Youngsters train

Dyer wasn't the only youngster involved in the training session at Chelsea's Cobham base as a number of their talented starlets were spotted training with the first team. Leo Castledine, Dujon Richards and Dylan Williams were all photographed in the training session and the quartet will have been out to catch Pochettino's eyes.

The Blues' terrible luck on the injury front has opened up the door for some of their academy players to come into the squad on a matchday. At Aston Villa last Saturday, Ted Curd, Josh Acheampong, Dyer and Tyrique George were all named on what was an incredibly youthful substitutes' bench.

Nkunku steps up

One player who Chelsea fans will be desperate to see play a part in the run-in is Christopher Nkunku. The French international has endured some horrendous luck on the injury front since his move to the club last summer and has only made ten appearances in all competitions in 2023/24.

Returning to partial team training ahead of Chelsea's recent FA Cup semi-final showdown against Man City, Nkunku has yet to feature in a matchday squad since then. Blues fans will be hoping that Pochettino can deliver some positive news on the attacker and the team's other injured players when the boss speaks to the media on Wednesday to preview the Tottenham game.

In Chelsea's latest batch of training photos, Nkunku could be seen battling for the ball with Alfie Gilchrist and then in another photo juggling the ball up against two opponents.

Colwill takes part

Levi Colwill was also spotted putting in the hard work at Cobham as he looks to make his comeback from a toe injury. The defender last featured for Chelsea in their 2-2 draw with Brentford at the Gtech Community Stadium at the beginning of March.

Prior to the Aston Villa game, Pochettino did reveal that Colwill, like Chelsea captain James, was not available yet but he was "close" after doing some partial training with the squad. Looking comfortable on the ball in the training photos, the youngster may not be too far away from a first-team squad return.