(Reuters) - Chelsea will be without injured duo Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas for Saturday’s trip to Brighton and Hove Albion but new signing Ross Barkley could make his debut as he inches towards full match fitness, manager Antonio Conte said.
Defender Cahill and midfielder Fabregas, who injured their hamstrings in the goalless Premier League draw with Leicester City last weekend, also missed Wednesday’s FA Cup third round replay against Norwich City.
“Cahill and Fabregas are out. I have to check a couple of other situations for tomorrow’s game,” Conte told a news conference on Friday.
Midfielder Barkley played 70 minutes in a friendly game on Thursday and is in contention to play a part. The former Everton player has not played this season due to a hamstring injury sustained at the start of the campaign.
The 24-year-old signed a 5-1/2 year contract with Chelsea earlier this month after he initially turned down a move to Stamford Bridge in the close season.
“Ross is a in a good physical condition. For tomorrow he is in the squad. I don’t know if during the game I decide to give him the chance to play a part or if I want to wait,” Conte said. “He has to continue to improve, work with us, with our idea.”
Chelsea are fourth in the table, level on 47 points with Liverpool above them while Brighton have dropped to 16th after failing to win in their last four league games.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis