Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has suggested that N’Golo Kante could be ready to re-join the squad in training at Cobham at the weekend.
The 28-year-old has continued to struggle with a knee problem that he first sustained last season, and was subsequently sent home from the pre-season tour to receive further treatment.
That undoubtedly was a blow for Lampard, as he’ll hope to be as close to full strength as possible for the season opener when they face Man Utd on August 11 at Old Trafford.
Fortunately though, it sounds as though Kante will be in contention for the game, as Lampard has delivered the latest update on the French international and suggested that it was a precautionary measure and he’ll be expected to step up his recovery in the coming weeks.
“I think it has been more beneficial for him to be at Cobham with the facilities we have there,” he told the media, as quoted by Sky Sports. “It’s not a big backwards step that has been taken. He’s improving and hopefully by the time we get back and start training towards the weekend he will be in a position to pretty much join in with us.
“I hope so [facing Man Utd]. I don’t like to get ahead of myself because he has not fully trained yet but the doctors are telling me it [should be fine].”
Naturally, the Chelsea medical staff won’t green light a return to training or being named in the starting line-up until they feel Kante is ready, as the last thing that anyone concerned will want is a further setback which sees him miss the start of the new campaign.
It will perhaps be a concern that he has missed out on playing time to build his match fitness and sharpness, but Lampard doesn’t sound too worried about the situation as more will undoubtedly be known at the weekend when the Chelsea squad return from their tour and continue their preparations back in England.