Chelsea hit with injury crisis as 10 set to miss Preston North End FA Cup clash

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Latest injury news as Preston North End's FA Cup opponents are hit with an injury crisis.

Preston North End's FA Cup opponents Chelsea could be without up to 10 players for their third round tie at Stamford Bridge this weekend. The West London club have spent a lot of money on transfers over the last 12 months, but face being without several of their expensive stars for the visit of the Lilywhites.

The Blues edged past Luton Town on Saturday, winning 3-2 thanks to goals from Cole Palmer and Noni Madueke. Several of their players were missing however, and the latest injury update is that plenty of them are to miss out against PNE. Goalkeeper Robert Sanchez has a knee injury and is expected to be out until at least February. Centre-back Wesley Fofana suffered an ACL injury in pre-season - and will likely miss the entire 2023/24 campaign.

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Full-back Marc Cucurella sustained an ankle blow before Christmas and required surgery, which will keep him out of action until March. England full-back Reece James, meanwhile, has had a torrid time with injuries - a hamstring injury has forced him to go under the knife to address the issue and he is another star who won't feature.

Lesley Ugochukwu and Trevor Chalobah, like James, are also nursing hamstring issues. Chalobah's return date is yet unknown and he has been out of action since August. Ugochukwu was in contention to face Luton, but ended up not being risked. Now, Mauricio Pochettino has to decide whether to include him against North End.

Ben Chillwell - a 19-time England international - is another player dealing with a hamstring problem. He has been out since October and has returned to training, but no update has been provided on his potential return. Carney Chukwuemeka has a knee injury, but was pictured back in first team training on Friday morning and seemingly nearing a return.

He first had the issue in August and then suffered a recurrence in October. Romeo Lavia, who cost Chelsea £58m in the summer, has a thigh injury and will need to be assessed. The latest on the former Southampton midfielder is that he will be checked, to see whether it's a matter of a few days or a couple of weeks.

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As for North End, they head to the capital with only Robbie Brady and Jack Whatmough out injured. Brady came off injured against Swansea City before the busy festive period and his calf issue has seen him miss the last three games. Whatmough suffered a sore knee from a tackle against Sheffield Wednesday at the end of December - and was absent for the New Year's Day defeat to Sunderland. He is sidelined for a couple of weeks.

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