Antonio Conte has suggested that Cesc Fabregas could be the only Chelsea midfielder available to face Watford on Saturday (21 October) after admitting that he faces "many doubts" to select his starting line-up due to the number of injuries in his squad.
Fabregas formed the midfield alongside David Luiz and Tiemoue Bakayoko during the 3-3 draw with AS Roma on Wednesday night as Conte opted to select a 3-5-2 formation with three midfielders to stop the Serie A side.
However, the Brazilian had to be replaced by Pedro in the 57th minute due to a calf problem while Conte revealed that Bakayoko also picked up a groin issue during the game and only played the full 90 minutes due the lack of options at his disposal.
The Chelsea manager didn't provide a specific update on the duo during the press conference but when asked whether Fabregas could be the only midfielder fit to face Watford, he admitted: "It could be."
"Honestly at the moment I can tell nothing about the starting line-up for tomorrow. We have many doubts. I hope in these 24 hours to try to recover some players."
Yet, N'Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater will certainly miss the visit of Marco Silva's side with the England international being yet to make his debut for Chelsea since joining the Blues from Leicester on deadline day.
Kante was expected to be on the sidelines until after the coming international break of November following an injury he sustained earlier this month while away with France.
However, Conte provided a positive update on the recoveries of the duo after suggesting that the Frenchman could be back in time to face Manchester United on 5 November and even Roma on 31 October.
"I hope to have him back very soon, before the international break," Conte said when asked about Kante's recovery. "The [second] scan was better than before. N'Golo has started to work, not with the group to try to be in a good fitness. It could be an option [for him to play against Manchester United]. If he is available before that, against Roma, I would be very happy."
Meanwhile, speaking about Drinkwater, the Chelsea boss added: "He is progressing well and is now starting to work, not with us but has started to work in a part of the session. Now it is important for him to progress physically."
"I think it is important to recover him very well. If I try to put him on the pitch I risk to have a player without a good fitness and risk another injury. Maybe after 35 and 40 days [on the sidelines] we must still have to wait for the right moment for him. He is frustrated because he wants to play. We must have patience."
Meanwhile, Victor Moses is also expected to miss the visit of Watford after the wing-back picked up another hamstring injury during last weekend's 2-1 defeat at Crystal Palace which already prevented him from playing against Roma.
Chelsea will host Marco Silva's side in search to end a run of three games without a victory, having suffered back-to-back defeats in the Premier League to Manchester City and Palace before the Champions League draw with Roma.
Meanwhile, the Hornets will arrive to Stamford Bridge in a sensational form after their last weekend's victory over Arsenal rose them to the fourth position of the Premier League table.
"Watford are doing very well, they had a really good transfer market and strengthened the squad very well," Conte warned.
"For sure, tomorrow the game will be very tough because Watford are a good team, they are in a good position in the table and have enthusiasm. But we are playing at home and after two defeats in the league we want to come back and win."