Roberto Di Matteo is confident John Terry will be able to handle any abuse he receives from Arsenal fans when Chelsea travel to the Emirates Stadium.
The Blues captain has been fined 220,000 pounds and handed a four-match ban by the Football Association after being found guilty of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, and is widely believed to be contemplating an appeal. Terry's ban won't go into effect immediately, meaning he should be available for selection for the London derby.
"The penalty is suspended until after the outcome of any appeal, or the time for appealing expires, or should Mr. Terry decide not to appeal," the FA wrote in its statement Thursday. "The reason for this is to ensure that the penalty does not take effect before any appeal so that Mr. Terry has an effective right of appeal."
Di Matteo is expecting the boo-boys to be out in force on Saturday, but is backing the 31-year-old to use his experience and cope in the hostile environment.
“He’s an experienced player, playing many games before, difficult games under difficult circumstances and environments,” the Italian told reporters. “So if selected I don’t think there will be a problem. The spirit in the camp is good, we are in good shape, and good form. We are confident so we don’t really care too much the way the outside world, the external environment sees us, we have to focus on our strength, that’s the way we operate.
“It’s a big game every time Arsenal and Chelsea play each other. These are two teams in good form. I think it’s going to be an exciting game, I’m looking forward to it.”
Di Matto also moved to dismiss speculation that the Terry could be stripped of the club captaincy, insisting, “From our point of view there are no changes.”
In other news ahead of the Arsenal clash, the club have confirmed that Daniel Sturridge’s hamstring injury, which has ruled the striker out of the previous three games, has forced him out of consideration to face the Gunners. Frank Lampard, though, has recovered from a slight ankle knock to make the squad after sitting out Chelsea’s 6-0 win over Wolves in the League Cup third round.