Chelsea have been handed a boost over the fitness of Reece James after scans revealed the defender will only need surgery as a ‘last resort’.
James has been struggling with a knee problem in recent matches and is expected to miss tonight’s clash with West Ham at Stamford Bridge, the full-back having suffered some ‘discomfort’ following the midweek defeat to Wolves.
The 21-year-old has been a regular for the west London side this season and has started 11 league fixtures so far this season, though will be handed a rest over the upcoming fixtures in a bid to solve the issue and avoid further complications.
There were fears that James could be set for an extended period on the sidelines, but according to The Athletic, Chelsea’s fears have been somewhat reduced from the initial prognosis last weekend and the club believe the problem will only require an operation as a last resort.
Cesar Azpilicueta is expected to deputise for the England international with the club captain having lost his first-team place to the youngster this season, and the veteran is set to return to the side ahead of tonight’s London Derby.
Chelsea currently sit eighth in the Premier League following back-to-back defeats over the past week, but can move within a point of the Champions League places with victory over the Hammers this evening.
Hakim Ziyech is also expected to miss the clash as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury, though Callum Hudson-Odoi could return to the squad after resuming training on Friday.