Newcastle are likely to face a depleted Chelsea side, boosting Steve Bruce’s hopes of getting something from the game, but news that N’Golo Kante may be fit will not be welcomed.
Frank Lampard currently has eight players either ruled out or doubtful for Saturday’s game, and while Kante is one of those, Football London report the French midfielder may yet be available.
Kante was said to be training separately from the main group of players while on international duty with France, and despite being named in the squad, he took no part in the national side’s 1-1 draw with Turkey.
He is rated at 50-50 due to a muscle issue, but if he is still able to train, the signs could point to his availability to face the Longstaff brothers at Stamford Bridge.
Kante has become a very influential player for Chelsea, having played in all but two of their Premier League games last season.
But he has had a disruptive start this campaign, having only made four Premier League appearances so far due to niggles, but he has still managed to score twice during them.
Steve Bruce will hope Chelsea are without a number of key players
Certainly Bruce will have hoped Saturday will come too soon for many of the doubtful Chelsea players, as he looks to build on the impressive win against Manchester United.
He will have received a boost from the number of fitness issues Lampard has, and can sympathise with his counterpart, having been in a similar position for many of the opening weeks of the season.
Of course, it may be that Lampard does not risk Kante on Saturday as a precaution, given it is a game he will expect to win – even without him – while conscious of their impending Champions League game at Ajax four days later.
Newcastle will need all the help they can get on Saturday, and if injury issues mean they face a weakened Chelsea side, then that can only be good news for the travelling fans.