Frank Lampard says Benoit Badiashile is “very close” to a recall to the Chelsea side.
The French defender, signed from Monaco in January, faces strong competition for a place and has featured just once since March.
But interim Blues boss Lampard has indicated that Badiashile, 22, could play against Bournemouth on Saturday.
Lampard said: “He’s very close. He couldn’t play in the Champions League for me. He played against Brighton, which was a difficult match for everybody.
“He’s in competition with Thiago Silva, with Wesley (Fofana), Trevoh (Chalobah). But he’s very close and he’s training well.”
Chelsea will be looking to end an appalling run of results, having lost all six of their matches since Lampard returned for a second spell at the helm.
“We need to take small steps. Fans might not want to hear that,” he said.
“I think everybody understands the difficulty of the situation I have come into. I understood it coming in, especially in those first two or three weeks where we played five games, with two against Real Madrid.
“I haven’t had much time to really lay much down. You have to accept that as a consequence of the job. As much as you have your great moments where everything feels easy, you also have your moments where they’re not so.”