LONDON, March 17 — Chelsea will be boosted by the return of Frenchman N’Golo Kante who injured his hamstring in August but fellow midfielder Mason Mount is sidelined, manager Graham Potter said today.
Kante, 31, played only two games this season before his injury and returned to full training at the start of the month, but Potter said they would have to tread carefully when bringing him back into the lineup.
“N’Golo has a chance of being back in the squad,” Potter told reporters ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League game at home to struggling Everton tomorrow.
“Managers before me have spoken highly of N’Golo because he’s a top player. He has been a huge miss to us.
“It’s great for us he is back and we have to be mindful he has (had) a long injury. We have to take the steps to get him up to speed in the Premier League.”
The rejuvenated London club are looking for their fourth consecutive victory following a six-match winless run in all competitions.
However, Chelsea forward Raheem Sterling, midfielder Mason Mount and defenders Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta are all sidelined due to injuries.
Potter said Mount’s injury, an unusual problem with a bone in his abdominal area, would also keep him out of England’s opening Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine.
Mount was included in Gareth Southgate’s England squad yesterday, but Sterling was left out due to his injury.
“Raheem has a problem with his hamstring. It’s not too serious but he’ll miss the game at the weekend and the international trip,” Potter added.
“It’s the same with Mason. He’ll miss the England camp as well. Thiago and Azpi are out.”
Relegation-threatened Everton have won three of their seven games under former Burnley manager Sean Dyche to move up to 15th, a point above the drop zone, earning the praise of Potter.
“He’s a fantastic coach and his record is impressive. To do what he did at Burnley is a fantastic achievement,” Potter said.
“Everton are motivated, (they have) clarity in all the phases. We know how difficult the game is, we’ll have to play well.” — Reuters