Chelsea will be looking to end a run of three games without a victory when they face League Two side Morecambe in the FA Cup third round at Stamford Bridge this lunchtime.
After climbing to the top of the Premier League table in early-December, following a 3-1 triumph over Leeds United at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s form has taken a severe nose-dive in recent weeks, with them having lost four of their last six matches.
That run of form has significantly heaped the pressure on Frank Lampard’s shoulders, meaning he will be in desperate need of a victory when the Blues lock horns with the Shrimps this lunchtime.
Although Lampard is certain to ring the changes, handing opportunities to some of his younger players and those who are on the fringes of the first-team fold, the Chelsea chief knows he will be under severe pressure to secure the Blues’ route to round four and avoid a major cup scalp.
Though changes are likely, Lampard still has a few injury issues to contend with.
With that in mind, here is a round-up of all the very latest Chelsea team news.
Right-back James is set to miss his third successive match as he continues to recover from a knee injury.
The former Wigan Athletic loanee has been a regular fixture under Lampard this season but was forced to miss the clashes with both Aston Villa and Manchester City.
Although the England international has stepped up his road to recovery this week, training at the Blues’ Cobham training base, the clash with Derek Adams’ side will come too soon for the defender.
Speaking to the media ahead of the game, Lampard said: “Reece James is out for the game, although he will be training with us tomorrow but the game comes too early for him.”
Like James, Danish centre-back Christensen will also miss the showdown with Morecambe.
The centre-back, who was handed a rare start in the 1-1 draw with Villa just after Christmas, is struggling with a knee injury.
Christensen picked up that injury during a clash with Villa ace Jack Grealish, which prompted a reaction from former Chelsea skipper John Terry.
Issuing an update on Christensen’s fitness, Lampard said: “I’ll set the record straight on that one – Andreas’ injury was absolutely from that moment in the Villa game.
“It’s probably a typical modern-day reaction where Andreas has taken stick. He’s out but the injury isn’t too bad which is good news for him. He’ll back in training with us on Saturday.”
Frenchman Kante has also been ruled out of the showdown with Morecambe, although it is highly unlikely he would have featured anyway had he been fit and available for selection.
The former Leicester City midfield enforcer is struggling with a hamstring complaint.
Currently, it is unknown how long the midfielder will be sidelined for, meaning Lampard has been starved of one of his most important players.