Chelsea have already lost to Stoke City this season and Jose Mourinho is braced for another tough test against Mark Hughes’ side on Sunday.
Oussama Assaidi’s late goal gave Stoke a dramatic 3-2 Premier League victory over the title contenders at the Britannia Stadium last month.
Chelsea have the opportunity to gain revenge for that defeat when Stoke visit this weekend for an FA Cup fourth-round tie.
However, Mourinho knows his side will have to be up for the battle if they are to progress to the last 16 of the knockout competition.
When asked what he expects from Stoke, the former Real Madrid coach said: “I say we lost against this team and it was not a long time ago.
“We lost to them one month ago. They are a difficult team. Very physical, very direct.
“They’re very strong in set pieces. I expect a very difficult match (and) that’s why I’m going to play a strong team.
“I’m not going to make big changes in the team because we’re going to try and go as far as possible in the competition.”
One player who will not feature for Chelsea is midfielder Juan Mata, who is on the verge of joining Manchester United.
Chelsea will also be without striker Fernando Torres after he suffered a knee injury in the victory over United last weekend, meaning Demba Ba is in line to start.
Frank Lampard could also return to the starting line-up after being named among the substitutes for the United game following an injury lay-off, but Marco van Ginkel (knee) remains a long-term absentee.
The London club have been in fine form in recent weeks, winning their last six games in all competitions and conceding only two goals in the process.
Stoke’s victory over Chelsea last month was their first against the Stamford Bridge outfit since 1995, when a goal from Paul Peschisolido secured a 1-0 win in the capital.
It would be a major surprise if Stoke won this weekend, as Hughes’ men have claimed just one away victory in the top flight this season, against struggling West Ham in August.
Stoke have also been beaten on each of their visits to Chelsea since gaining promotion to the top flight in 2008, scoring only one goal across five league meetings and one FA Cup tie.
Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic could return at the expense of Jack Butland after a month on the sidelines due to a broken finger.
Hughes will check on striker John Guidetti after the on-loan striker reported to training on Friday feeling unwell.
Robert Huth (knee), Matthew Etherington (calf) and Andy Wilkinson (foot) all remain sidelined.
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