Chelsea handed key triple injury boost ahead of crunch clashes for Potter


ateo Kovacic is back in training as Chelsea hope for a timely triple injury boost in a decisive period for under-fire manager Graham Potter.

The Croatian international has generally been a mainstay of the Stamford Bridge midfield over recent years, though missed Sunday’s 2-0 London derby defeat at Tottenham due to illness as the intense pressure ratcheted up on the boss once again.

However, Kovacic was pictured back training with the rest of Chelsea’s first-team squad at Cobham on Wednesday, suggesting he is fit and available for a crucial home top-flight clash against relegation battlers Leeds on Saturday.

Video footage released by the club also showed that N’Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic continue to step up their own respective comeback bids.

Influential midfielder Kante, who is out of contract in the summer, has not played since August having undergone hamstring surgery, while American forward Pulisic has missed almost two months with a knee injury suffered against Manchester City in early January.

Back in business: Mateo Kovacic returned to Chelsea training on Wednesday after illness

/ Chelsea FC via Getty Images

But both players were seen training again on Wednesday, with Chelsea using the video caption “back in the fold” as footage also showed Ben Chilwell pointing to Pulisic and gleefully announcing to the camera: “He’s back”.

While Kovacic, Kante and Pulisic should all return soon, Chelsea are set to be without Thiago Silva for around six weeks after the evergreen defender suffered knee ligament damage against Spurs.

“Silva will now work closely with the club’s medical department during his rehabilitation to return to action as soon as possible,” the club said on Tuesday.

Captain Cesar Azpilicueta has also been out for Chelsea since suffering a concussion in the defeat by Southampton and being taken to hospital, where he was discharged after three days.

Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is also sidelined after undergoing surgery on a fractured finger in January, while striker Armando Broja will miss the rest of the season with a ruptured ACL suffered during a mid-season friendly against Aston Villa in Abu Dhabi in December.

Three days after facing Leeds, Chelsea host Borussia Dortmund in a pivotal second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, which they trail 1-0 after Karim Adeyemi’s winner in Germany last month.

They close out March with further League assignments away at Leicester and at home to struggling Everton, with Potter in desperate need of results after a run of just two wins in 15 top-flight games that has left them down in 10th and closer to the relegation zone (10 points) than the top four (14 points) as things stand.

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