Christian Pulisic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek played in a behind closed doors game at Cobham this morning as they near returns to Chelsea’s first team but Frank Lampard has admitted that both remain short of match fitness.
It is the first time that the United States international has played in a match environment since New Year’s Day, while Loftus-Cheek’s recovery from a ruptured achilles sustained at the end of last season continues to progress slowly.
Neither are expected to feature against Everton on Sunday, a game in which Lampard could be without up to nine first-team players.
But they are both heading in the right direction and could appear in competitive action by the end of this month.
“We’ve just had an in-house game here, that Ruben and Christian Pulisic took part in,” Lampard said.
“Great to see Christian get some minutes. He’s still short of match fitness, but it’s the first time the injury’s gone up to a level to get him on a big pitch in a relatively competitive match, so it’s a big step forward hopefully. I’ll found out how it went later, but I just watched it.
“And Ruben played half of that game himself, and is trying to find match fitness.
“He’s short of that and Ruben’s saying that himself and I can see that. So there’s work to be done with Ruben.”
Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante are ruled out of the Everton game through injury, Jorginho is suspended and there are question marks over the fitness of Andreas Christensen and Willian.