Both had been given recovery time after their World Cup playoff match.
LONDON: Chelsea will have Mateo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech back in their squad for their New Year’s Day trip to Nottingham Forest after both returned to training following the World Cup.
Both were given extra time to recover after their countries – Croatia and Morocco – reached the semifinals and contested the third and fourth place playoff match.
The duo were not available for Chelsea’s Premier League win against Bournemouth on Tuesday, but manager Graham Potter confirmed they are ready for the trip to struggling Forest.
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“Both of those guys will be back,” Potter said, although he confirmed that keeper Edouard Mendy is a doubt because of an injury picked up playing for Senegal at the World Cup.
“We’ll see how he is over the next few days. He has a problem with a bone that he picked up at the World Cup and needed a little bit of time,” Potter said.
Chelsea were dealt a fresh blow when full back Reece James was injured against Bournemouth and Potter admits the toll of injuries on his squad, and the fact that so many players were in Qatar, has been tough to handle.
“The (World Cup) break hasn’t been a positive one for us,” Potter said. “I could have made lots of excuses if the Bournemouth result hadn’t gone our way because we had four players for the first two weeks and then them dripping back in.
“The break that you think you have to work with the team, it’s not there because you haven’t got the players,” he said.
“But you can’t make those excuses, you’ve just got to win and we did against Bournemouth so that was good.”
Chelsea are eighth in the table and have ground to make up if they are to join the battle for a top-four finish and Potter is aware that injuries cannot be used as an excuse.
“It’s been a real tough period, as challenging as it has been in my time as a coach, but we’re at Chelsea and people don’t want to hear those reasons or excuses,” he said.
“You’ve got to get on with it, and we’ve got to try our best to find the answers.”
N’Golo Kante and Armando Broja remain out for Chelsea with long-term injuries while James is also unavailable again.