With Joe Cole close to returning to the team, and Alex also nearing full fitness. And with Bosingwa, Zhirkov and Mikel expected back soon as well, Ray Wilkins believes that Chelsea will have fantastic strength and depth in the squad when they have a fully fit squad to choose from.
“Alex is just a touch away, we are fortunate in the fact that we have a number of players that can play in that area,” Wilkins said. “We are looking forward to the time when he comes back because when he comes back he will reinforce us immensely.”
“We are happy with the squad we have, and we can rotate these guys,” he continued. “The suggestion Riccy Carvalho was dropped was nonsense, he was rested and we have a fully fit Riccy now.
“It can be difficult. We have no problems with the fitness levels of our guys, none whatsoever. It’s nature to get tired, and the pace of the game now is extremely quick.
“Joe Cole is there now, we are looking forward to him coming back in as well, and we will decide on whether he starts.”
He then admitted that Chelsea are going to need the full squad available in January, when Drogba, Kalou, Essien and Mikel will all be going to the African Nations Cup.
“I think if you look at the four going away and take the equivalent four out of any team in the country you’d be concerned,”
“They are top quality footballers and we’ll be missing those guys but it has come about and it’s happened.
“We are confident we have a group of guys that will cope with that situation. We knew the African Nations was coming round and we have to deal with it.
“We had a lot of injuries last year and other players came to the fore, they will rise. I am sure this will happen again, there are a lot of young men sitting just underneath the first team squad desperate to get out there and have a bash, and I am sure if that situation arises they will give it their best shot.”
The next couple of months will be crucial to Chelsea’s trophy aspirations, as they need to be in a good position before the top players leave for Africa.