Ruben Loftus-Cheek is back in training and could make a surprise return to action for Chelsea this weekend.
The Blues expected Loftus-Cheek to be sidelined for a lengthy spell while a persistent back problem is addressed.
But the England midfielder has responded very well to treatment and might even feature in Sunday’s FA Cup game against Sheffield Wednesday.
Assistant boss Gianfranco Zola revealed that Loftus-Cheek will be assessed on Saturday before a decision is taken on whether he will be involved in the fourth-round tie at Stamford Bridge.
Zola said: “Ruben has been back in training with us today.
“He’s been progressing and, honestly, it’s been a surprise – I thought it would have been a little bit longer.
“Tomorrow I think we’re going to make a decision on whether he’s in contention or not, but he looks good.”