(Reuters) – Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham faces a late fitness test before Wednesday’s Premier League match against Aston Villa as the 22-year-old recovers from a hip issue, manager Frank Lampard said on Tuesday.
England international Abraham, who is Chelsea’s top scorer this season with 11 goals in all competitions, sustained the injury after falling awkwardly in his team’s 2-2 Champions League draw at Valencia last week.
Although Abraham played down concerns over the injury, he missed Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat by West Ham United last Saturday, with his replacement Olivier Giroud looking rusty.
“We’re giving (Abraham) every opportunity to play tomorrow,” Lampard told a news conference. “We will make the call tomorrow, he has a bit of pain.
“You can’t isolate it to one player and game. He can’t just be the reason for losing the game (against West Ham).”
Midfielder Ross Barkley (illness) will miss the match while defender Antonio Rudiger (groin) could return in the next 10 days.
Wednesday’s match will mark the first time former Chelsea captain and current Villa assistant manager John Terry returns to Stamford Bridge as an opponent.
Former Derby County boss Lampard, who faced his former team mate in the Championship (second tier) last season, said he had great respect for Terry’s work under Villa manager Dean Smith.
“It’s more about John and the reception he’ll quite rightly get from Chelsea fans – greatest captain, won everything,” Lampard said.
“The fans will certainly show their appreciation and it’ll be emotional for John. I’ll be pleased to see his face. We spoke last week, we’re regularly in conversation, but both working hard on our jobs.”
Fourth-placed Chelsea are looking to return to winning ways following defeats by champions Manchester City and West Ham.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)