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Ross Barkley is set to play for Chelsea’s development side in a match against Derby County on Saturday.
Barkley has made just three appearances since his January move to Chelsea from Everton, having not played this season prior to his arrival at Stamford Bridge.
The England international had hamstring surgery last year and has been struggling with more hamstring trouble in recent weeks.
He has been training with Chelsea’s development squad and is due to travel with them for the game at St George’s Park.
Blues boss Antonio Conte explained: “He has started to have training sessions. We prefer to have him training with the Under-23s and then to play on Saturday before coming back with us.
“We are talking about a player coming back from a bad injury – seven months without playing.
“We want to have patience with him and be sure before he comes back with the first team.”
Barkley’s last outing came in Chelsea’s 3-0 home defeat against Bournemouth in January – his only Premier League appearance for the club so far.