Chelsea boss to decide if Terry lines out against Arsenal
ANDRE Villas-Boas was set to decide today whether John Terry is in the right frame of mind to lead Chelsea out in their crucial London derby against Arsenal.
All the signs are Blues boss Villas-Boas will recall his captain for the crunch Barclays Premier League clash, despite the racism inquiry that hangs over the 30-year-old.
Terry sat out Wednesday night's Carling Cup win at Everton, the defender left in London largely because he was one booking away from a suspension and played 90 minutes at QPR on Sunday, where Chelsea spent most of the game with nine men.
Villas-Boas tends to decide on his line-up 24 hours before a game and it is likely the first question he will be asked in this afternoon's pre-match press conference will relate to Terry's involvement against Arsenal.
Whether Villas-Boas actually confirms his skipper will play remains to be seen, but leaving him out tomorrow would be a major surprise.
The Portuguese gave Terry his full backing earlier this week after the England captain categorically denied racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand at Loftus Road.
However, that was before Rangers asked the Football Association to investigate the allegations against Terry, who could be forgiven for having his mind elsewhere during tomorrow's match.
The FA inquiry could see other QPR and Chelsea players called as witnesses and the Professional Footballers' Association yesterday pledged to assist the game's governing body.
PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor offered his help in the Patrice Evra-Luiz Suarez race row two weeks ago and his organisation made it clear yesterday they would be prepared to do the same in the Terry-Ferdinand saga.
The PFA said in a statement: "There is a proper process to be followed for such serious issues which is governed by The Football Association, as the game's regulator.
"We will assist and adhere to that process in any way which is considered appropriate, mindful that all the players are our members and as such we expect the process to be fair and transparent in establishing the facts in each case."
Reacting to recent race rows, Premier League managers yesterday gave their take on whether it was a problem in English football.
Fulham's Dutch boss Martin Jol, who was also a player at West Brom and Coventry in the 1980s, said: "We do not like it in my country and it has been an issue over the past five or six years across Europe.
"I don't know the ins and outs from Terry case but I feel at this club, particularly at this club, we do everything to stand up to racism."
He added: "There is no racism here and, in England, I felt when I played here it was the same - everybody was against it."
Blackburn's Steve Kean was taken aback by the Terry allegations.
"I was surprised because of all the campaigns and I'm sure everybody is behind making sure it doesn't creep back into the game at any level," he said.
"I'm not aware of if it has come back in but if it has then it has to be stamped out immediately."