Barkley set to play against Newcastle in Chelsea duo’s absence

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Antonio Conte says Chelsea’s injury worries have made it all the more important that Ross Barkley quickly regains his fitness. 

The midfielder, signed from Everton earlier this month, had hamstring surgery last year.

But despite only recently returning to full training, the England international was brought on for his debut in the Carabao Cup defeat against Arsenal on Wednesday following a first-half injury to Willian.

And Blues boss Conte has strongly hinted that the 24-year-old will play in Sunday’s FA Cup tie at home against Newcastle.

The Italian said: “If you want to accelerate the process, he [Barkley] has to play, not just a training session – especially in this moment with Willian and Alvaro Morata injuries as we don’t have other options.

“After a bad injury you need a bit of time to be fit 100%.”

Morata has been ruled out of the Newcastle game because of a back problem, but Cesc Fabregas might be fit enough to play.