Frank Lampard has revealed that N’Golo Kante will not be available for key clashes against Wolves and Valencia due to an ongoing ankle injury.
Chelsea visit Molineux on Saturday in the Premier League, before hosting Valencia in their first Group H game in the UEFA Champions League next Tuesday.
The 28-year-old has only featured in two league matches for Lampard's side this season, having struggled with an ankle injury since the 1-1 draw with former club Leicester City last month.
Lampard: Kante is still 'a week away or so' from full fitness
In his press conference today, Lampard discussed the extent of the Frenchman’s injury, and when we can expect to see him back in regular first team action.
"N’Golo is not fit," the former Chelsea and England star told reporters ahead of the trip to Wolves. "He still has issues with his ankle. The medical team are working with him.
"He is in a transition period and we are trying to get him on the pitch. He is doing some physical work but this game comes too soon for him.
"Hopefully he is close. I don’t want to jump the gun because we are waiting for improvements for that final step to get him where we want him to be on the pitch. Hopefully that will be in the next week or so.”
Positive injury news for Chelsea
Whilst the Kante news is a massive blow for Chelsea, Lampard has provided some positive injury news for the Blues.
He revealed that Antonio Rudiger is available for selection for Saturday's game against Wolves after he has recovered from a long term injury that he has been nursing since the end of last season.
Lampard said: “Rudiger is fit to play. It’s a choice for myself, but he will have an important role. We have missed him as we have with a few more front line players.
"Rudiger is not old but he needs to take on the responsibility of being a leader. It is important in a team. I don’t want a young team for the sake of it. He can be influential. He is ready to take on those roles."
The Chelsea boss also revealed that Pedro and Kovacic have also returned from injury and are available for selection.
Additionally, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James have stepped up their recovery from injury by featuring for the Chelsea U23s in Friday night's match against Brighton.
Hudson-Odoi has been out since April with a ruptured Achilles tendon, but is set to return much sooner than expected, while James has been out with an ankle ligament problem since the summer.
And Lampard is delighted to see the pair on the way back to the team.
"Callum will play for the U23s along with Reece James," he said.
"He has been training for a while but there are some issues to make sure that he’s okay. It will be great to see that. James, not as long out, but he needs games. I am pleased."