Kante ‘fine’ but Barkley is still struggling

Ross Barkley is still not fit enough to play (Picture: Action Plus)

Ross Barkley has been ruled out of Chelsea’s game against Crystal Palace but N’Golo Kante seems set to return.

Despite Antonio Conte suggesting last week that Barkley was close to a return to action, the January signing is still not being considered for selection because of hamstring trouble.

Barkley, who had hamstring surgery last year and had not played this season prior to his move from Everton, has not featured since the 3-0 home defeat against Bournemouth on 31 January, which is his only league appearance for the Blues so far.

Boss Conte confirmed on Friday afternoon that Barkley is unavailable for this weekend’s derby.

Conte also indicated that he will need to assess the fitness of other players before naming his team.

He said: “David Luiz is injured. Also Barkley. Then I have to check a couple of situations before making the decisions for tomorrow’s game.”

Kante, meanwhile, missed Sunday’s defeat at Manchester City after fainting following a training session 48 hours before the game.

Kante has trained fully this week

The midfielder has since been given the all-clear following medical tests.

“N’Golo is fine. He trained the whole week and he’s in good form,” Conte said.

“Last week, on Friday, it was very cold. After the training session he passed out briefly in the dressing room.

“The doctor brought him to have many check-ups, to understand his physical condition, but it was all clear.

“I think on Sunday he was well, but at the same time it was right not to take the risk.

“He’s OK. Every check-up is OK – perfect.”