Chelsea captain Reece James says he is getting a lot closer to returning from injury and hopes to remain fit for the rest of the season.
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Mauricio Pochettino made James was Chelsea’s new skipper over the summer, but he has only worn the armband once having picked up a thigh injury during the draw with Liverpool in August.
As one of England and the Premier League’s best right-backs, his absence has hurt the Blues who have won just one of their first five league games.
He is once again on the sidelines as Chelsea host Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, but was still able to share a positive update on his rehabilitation.
The 23-year-old wrote in the matchday programme: ‘It’s been tough few weeks for me since suffering an injury after the first game.
‘My job is to play football and I want to be able to help the team, but I can’t do that at the moment, so right now my job is to get fit as quickly and as safely as possible.
‘I want to get back out there soon, but it’s also important to make sure that it’s the right moment so that when I do come back, I’m in a position to continue to season without any problems later on.
‘I’m another stage closer to returning now. I’ve been on the grass for the last couple of weeks and I’m working hard right now to come back, put my injury problems to bed and help the team as much as I can.’
James is one of nine Chelsea players who have been ruled out with injury – a list that also includes big money summer signings Romeo Lavia and Christopher Nkunku.
In better news for the Blues, Moises Caicedo has recovered from a minor knee injury in time to start against Villa, taking the place of Lesley Ugochukwu in their once change from the goalless draw at Bournemouth last week.
Marc Cucurella is also back on the bench after suffering from illness as is Armando Broja who is finally back after recovering from his serious knee injury that he picked up last December.
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