London, Dec 24(ANI): Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti is facing a tough time ahead of the derby against Fulham after losing all his regular strikers due to injuries and national duties.
Nicolas Anelka is out for at least three games after tearing a hamstring in training last week, and now Ancelotti must release Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou to the Ivory Coast after the Boxing Day trip to Birmingham.
The situation leaves Chelsea stranded with Daniel Sturridge and Fabio Borini, who have never scored a goal for Chelsea or started a Premier League game for the club.
Ancelotti had earlier hoped that Drogba and Kalou would be allowed to stay back for the crucial against Fulham, but Ivory Coast manager Vahid Halilhodzic has insisted on the duo joining his squad on December 27 for preparing for the African Nations Cup.
"I made a mistake. Officially the players have to go 14 days before the start of the African Nations Cup, which is January 11. I had hoped Didier would be able to play against Fulham, but I spoke to their manager and he wants all of his Premier League players on December 27," The Sun quoted Ancelotti, as saying.
"We cannot go against the FIFA rules. They have to leave on December 27. Against Fulham, we'll only have Sturridge and Borini but in January Anelka will be ready to play again," he added. (ANI)