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Pochettino hopeful James can play part for Chelsea after returning to training

SoccerNews in English Premier League 10 May 2024

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Mauricio Pochettino is hoping to have Reece James available for Chelsea’s trip to Nottingham Forest following the club captain’s return to training.

Chelsea confirmed on their official website on Friday that the England international is “back in full team training” after five months out.

James’ latest absence came as a result of undergoing surgery on a recurring hamstring injury, which forced him off in the 2-0 loss to Everton in December.

The 24-year-old has played just 452 minutes for Chelsea in all competitions this season – down on the 1,936 he managed in 2022-23.

However, James now has a chance of featuring in Saturday’s match against relegation-threatened Forest at City Ground.

“We need to see today but maybe he can be available in the squad, yes,” Pochettino said at Friday’s pre-match news conference.

“The most important thing is Reece James is going to be there for us. We have an amazing relationship and of course he is an amazing player.

“I know it is not easy always when you come from a long-term injury. The most important thing is that he can be available and can be part of the squad. If he can play five, 10, 15, 20 or 30 minutes it will be amazing.

“I am happy because we are going to be in the last week of the season and nearly all the players will be fit to be available. It is a good end and to see the future more optimistic.”

Chelsea enter the game on a two-match winning run and unbeaten in three, ensuring they remain in the mix for a top-six finish.

After the trip to Forest, the Blues round off their campaign with games away at Brighton and home to Bournemouth.

Pochettino added: “It’s true that some good results in the last few weeks increased our belief and, of course, when you win games and the performance is good also.

“With the circumstances of having 12 or 14 players out, that gives more value to the performance and to the victories.

“I think the team is ready to face the last three games and I think it’s important for us. An important objective is to try to be in Europe and of course we are focusing on the next game.”

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