Sunday 25 February 2018

Cole rested for Zilina tie

CHELSEA will rest Ashley Cole for tomorrow's Champions League tie away to MSK Zilina and have resisted the temptation to recall Frank Lampard, WRITES JASON BURT.

John Terry, however, has recovered from bruising to his ribs which forced him to be substituted during Saturday's Premier League victory at West Ham and will play.

Chelsea have deemed that Lampard -- who underwent groin surgery and missed England's recent Euro 2012 qualifying games against Bulgaria and Switzerland -- is not fit enough to play, so he will stay behind to train while the squad travel to Slovakia. He is expected to return for Sunday's league match at home to Blackpool.

The absence of Cole was less expected. It is understood the left-back has had an ankle niggle, although Chelsea maintain he is being left out simply because of the number of games he has played.

This means a rare opportunity for Yuri Zhirkov, who has grown frustrated at the lack of opportunities since he moved to Chelsea from CSKA Moscow in the summer last year.

"Ashley Cole stays out because I want to give him a rest," manager Carlo Ancelotti said. "He played two games with the national team, played Saturday, and I will give him a rest."

With Didier Drogba suspended, Nicolas Anelka is expected to play as a central striker, rather than on the flanks. Florent Malouda will return to the starting XI. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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