Chelsea stars passed fit but Kante remains sidelined

Antonio Rudiger and Mateo Kovacic have been passed fit for Chelsea’s trip to Wolves but N’Golo Kante remains sidelined.

Defender Rudiger has been working his way back to fitness following a knee problem and featured in two matches for the Blues’ development side prior to the international break.

He has been given the green light to return to first-team action, while Kovacic has recovered from an Achilles injury.

“Rudiger is fit to play,” said Frank Lampard, who confirmed that Pedro is also ready to return.

“That (whether Rudiger plays at Wolves) is obviously a choice for myself but he’ll have an important role – I know how important he’s been for the club and the team since he’s been here.

“We’ve missed him, as we’ve missed a few front-line players who will certainly strengthen us as a group. I’m certainly pleased to have him back.”

Rudiger’s comeback is a major boost for boss Lampard, whose side have looked vulnerable at the back in the early stages of the season.

However, Lampard also confirmed at a news conference on Friday afternoon that Kante, previously sidelined by a knee injury, is not ready to return after an ankle problem.

“Kovacic is fit to play, N’Golo’s not,” Lampard said.

“He still has issues with his ankle and the medical team are working with him.

“He’s in a bit of a transitional period now where we’re trying to get him on the pitch and he’s doing some physical work, but this game comes too soon for him.

“He’s hopefully close to coming back. I don’t want to jump the gun because we’re waiting for that final step to get him where we want him to be. Hopefully that will be in the next week or so.”

Meanwhile, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James will return to action by playing for the development side against Brighton at Stamford Bridge on Friday evening.

Hudson-Odoi has been out with an Achilles tendon injury and fellow youngster James has missed the early part of the campaign with an ankle problem.

Lampard said: “Callum’s going to play along with Reece James, so they’ll get minutes which is important now because Callum has been training with us for a while but there are still some issues with the injury itself that we need to make sure he’s OK with.

“He’ll need to get match fit, so these games are really beneficial for him and Reece James similarly.

“I’m pleased with that. They’re two young players that are going to be big for this club going forward.”