Chelsea boost ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash at Stoke


Hughes, who has been using a formation with three men in the centre of defence, can not call upon the on-loan Kurt Zouma for the match at the bet365 Stadium as he is ineligible to face his parent club.

While on-loan Kurt Zouma is ineligible to face his parent club, Ryan Shawcross (back) and Geoff Cameron (hamstring) remain sidelined, and Wimmer is a doubt due to a hamstring problem of his own. Geoff Cameron remains out with a similar problem picked up during the worldwide break, leaving Bruno Martins Indi as the only fully available centre-back to have featured in the top flight this season.

Hughes is determined to keep his preferred back-three system, meaning Erik Pieters or Glen Johnson might be considered suitable for adapting to a central defensive role.

Both sides were in midweek Carabao Cup action and each fielded rotated sides. Geoff Cameron won't be available and Kurt Zouma isn't available. We will have to see how he is today.

"As it stands, of the senior centre-halves that I've got, I've only got one", the Former Manchester Untied defender said.

"I don't know the whole circumstances, but from a football fans' point of view, I think he's a loss to the Premier League".

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'Kevin's damaged a hamstring.

"I used to really enjoy watching him play and how he went about his business, because he was different - he had an edge to him and the reaction of other players to him was really interesting".

Hughes said: "We are struggling a little bit defensively, I have to say".

Chelsea have received a confidence boost ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash at Stoke. He got a long contract that means we trust him.

"Obviously if you have three or four injuries in the same position you haven't got depth". Going up against a top side like Chelsea, you've got to be bang at it. We've got to look to Chelsea, pick ourselves up, learn from this and go again.