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Gianfranco Zola provides Eden Hazard's return date ahead of Derby Clash

Gianfranco Zola provides Eden Hazards return date ahead of Derby Clash

London, Oct 31: Eden Hazard is set to miss their Carabo Cup clash against Derby County, however, he is "looking good" to return against Crystal Palace on Sunday, according to assistant manager Gianfranco Zola.

The Belgian ace has been one of the best players in the Premier League so far and currently sits at the top of the scoring chart, netting 7 times so far. However, after a frosty tie against Manchester United, two weeks back, the attacker suffered a back injury and consequently missed their next two fixtures, Europea League tie against Bate Borisov and last weekend's game against Burnley.

There were hopes that he could now return to face Frank Lampard’s Derby on Wednesday night in Carabo Cup but the Blues' assistant manager Zola has confirmed that his attacker will again miss the game. Although, he's hopeful that the player will be back fit in time for Sunday's home fixture against Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

Asked about Hazard’s fitness, Zola replied: "He’s certainly much better and I think maybe, not sure, today maybe tomorrow he will join us in training.

"I don’t think he’ll be involved tomorrow but he's looking good for the weekend. Were pleased because he’s so important for us."

Zola furthermore also talked about the injury issues of defender Ampadu, attacker Pedro and forward Olivier Giroud. Pedro marched off against Burnley due to an injury scare and now is a major doubt for the game, while Giroud is believed to have endured a minor leg injury.

However, Zola chose not to disclose about the availability of his players as he insisted decisions will be taken after further assessment.

"Pedro has had a stomach ache. He came off Sunday. He is getting better, we will assess.

"Also, (Olivier) Giroud has a fatigue problem in one leg. (Ethan) Ampadu has been back in training yesterday, we will leave it until tomorrow to assess."

The game against Derby will mark the emotional return of their former legend Frank Lampard to Stamford Bridge who will hope to cause a shock again. The Chelsea top scorer produced an upset in the last round of the tournament when his team defeated mighty Manchester United at Old Trafford. He certainly would hope for similar results against his former side who are yet to lose a game in all competition so far this season.

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    Story first published: Wednesday, October 31, 2018, 14:40 [IST]
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