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Kante doubtful for Chelsea's Norwich clash due to ankle injury

13:35 BST 23/08/2019
N'Golo Kante Chelsea 2019-20
The France midfielder has been struggling with a sprained ankle throughout the week and faces a late check on his fitness

N’Golo Kante is a doubt for Chelsea’s trip to Norwich on Saturday, with manager Frank Lampard confirming he has been carrying an ankle sprain.

The French midfielder is thought to have picked up the injury during last weekend's 1-1 draw with Leicester. Though he completed the full 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge, he hasn't completed a full training session since then.

Kante will be assessed before the game at Carrow Road, with defender Antonio Rudiger also out but hoped to be back in contention for next weekend as the Blues face another promoted side in Sheffield United.

With Chelsea playing in the weekend's early fixture on Saturday lunchtime, Kante won't have long to prove his fitness and Lampard may decide that his key midfielder isn't worth risking.

However, with the former Derby County boss still looking for his first competitive win in charge of the Blues, losing him would be a disappointing blow ahead of a game Chelsea will be expected to win.

Kante has been playing in a more advanced role than some fans have been used to seeing him in, alongside youngster Mason Mount, with Jorginho operating in the deep-lying role behind them.

His loss could prove to be Ross Barkley or Mateo Kovacic's gain, as they look to stake a claim for a regular spot in midfield with Lampard yet to find the perfect blend. Barkley started in the opening-day loss to Manchester United, while Kovacic was preferred in the UEFA Super Cup defeat on penalties to Liverpool.

It will also mean there is more onus on Mount to provide the thrust and guile Chelsea need in midfield, with Lampard keeping faith in the youngster he managed at Derby last season.

Rudiger, meanwhile, will be raring to go after spending the last four months ruled out with a knee injury.

The 26-year-old has been back in full training over the last week, and played 90 minutes for Chelsea’s development squad.

Long-term absentees Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi, meanwhile, are still not ready to be considered for selection.

Following the Norwich and Sheffield United games, Chelsea travel to Molineux to face Wolves before a home fixture against Liverpool.