Ziyech, Kovacic Back For New Year’s Match

The pair were not available for Chelsea's Premier League victory over Bournemouth on Tuesday, but boss Graham Potter indicated they will be available for the trip to struggling Forest.

Mateo Kovacic and Hakim Ziyech will be back in Chelsea’s squad for their New Year’s Day trip to Nottingham Forest, having returned to training following the World Cup.

Both were granted extra time to rest after their respective teams, Croatia and Morocco, advanced to the semifinals and competed in the third and fourth place playoff matches.

The pair were not available for Chelsea’s Premier League victory over Bournemouth on Tuesday, but boss Graham Potter indicated they will be available for the trip to struggling Forest.

“Both of those men will be back,” Potter said, adding that goalie Edouard Mendy is a doubt due to an injury sustained while playing for Senegal at the World Cup.

Chelsea were dealt a fresh blow when full back Reece James was injured against Bournemouth and Potter admits the toll of injuries on his squad, and the fact that so many players were in Qatar, has been tough to handle.

“The (World Cup) break hasn’t been a positive one for us,” Potter said. “I could have made lots of excuses if the Bournemouth result hadn’t gone our way because we had four players for the first two weeks and then them dripping back in.

“The break that you think you have to work with the team, it’s not there because you haven’t got the players,” he said.

“But you can’t make those excuses, you’ve just got to win and we did against Bournemouth so that was good.”

Chelsea are eighth in the table and have ground to make up if they are to join the battle for a top-four finish and Potter is aware that injuries cannot be used as an excuse.