Rudiger ready for Chelsea return, as Lampard provides injury updates on Kante, Hudson-Odoi and Kovacic

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has provided fitness updates on several of the club’s injured stars, with defender Antonio Rudiger ready for his return to first-team football.

Lampard also confirmed that youngsters Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James are nearing full fitness following their respective long-term injuries, with the highly-rated duo set to feature for the club’s development side this week.

“Callum will play for the U23s along with Reece James,” Lampard said in his pre-match press conference. “He has been training for a while but there are some issues to make sure that he’s okay. It will be great to see that.

“James, not as long out, but he needs games. I am pleased.”

German international Rudiger’s return will be a welcome boost to Lampard, who has seen his Chelsea side look vulnerable defensively so far this season. The 26-year-old has been out since suffering a knee injury at Manchester United in April, though Lampard has confirmed the centre-back is fit to return for this weekend’s clash with Wolves at Molineux.

“He is fit,” he said. “It’s a choice for myself [as to whether he plays], but he will have an important role.

“We have missed him as we have with a few more front line players. It is important in a team. I don’t want a young team for the sake of it. He can be influential. He is ready to take on those roles.”

Matteo Kovacic is fit despite suffering an Achilles injury whilst on international duty with Croatia, though N’Golo Kante will again be absent with an ankle problem.

“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.”

Zidane wants to take N’Golo Kante to Real Madrid

See also – Man City suggest a ‘best of both’ transfer deadline