Guus Hiddink has confirmed Eden Hazard will not feature in Chelsea's trip to Aston Villa on 2 April, as the Belgian is yet to recover from an ongoing hip issue. Diego Costa, meanwhile, is suspended and will not face the division doormats, while Hiddink was doubtful over the availability of Oscar, Willian and Bertrand Traore since the trio had only returned to London on Friday following international commitments. Pato may feature, with the former AC Milan star working very hard to see a debut over the break.
Hazard has missed recent matches with Everton and West Ham United, after suffering a hip setback during Chelsea's Champions League elimination to Paris Saint-Germain. Belgium boss Marc Wilmots left the player out of his international plans, with reports suggesting the midfielder would be out for four weeks. Hiddink has now claimed the Chelsea star is working on the pitch with physios already, but the Villains game will come too soon for him.
"I will talk to the medical staff today again but Hazard is not available for now," Hiddink said in a press conference ahead of the game. "He is on the pitch but with the physios, he is outside the group."
The manager added that Diego Costa has recovered from fitness problems sustained before the international break. However, the Spaniard will miss the upcoming game due to a suspension.
"Costa is suspended but he trained very well the past week, he was very ambitious and enjoyed working. He is not injured any more."
Oscar, Willian and Traore, meanwhile, will all need to be assessed before a decision is made on their participation at Villa, with the trio only returning to Cobham on Friday.
"Oscar, Traore and Willian came back one day before the game. We will see how they are in their fitness and freshness," Hiddink said. "After a long journey we will see if they are available tomorrow."
With Costa out and Traore doubtful, Hiddink revealed Pato may finally make his first appearance for the Blues since his January move to Stamford Bridge.
"Whether Pato will be actively involved we will see tomorrow," the boss added. "We now have eight games coming up and to be honest there is not much to win for Chelsea any more. I don't give any player a guarantee but there might be some time for experiments."
"His fitness has improved. He has worked very hard during the international break. When I started we had just Diego, which was one of the reasons we got Pato on loan. Meanwhile there was development in, for instance, [Bertrand] Traore, so there was more competition for Pato. [Loic] Remy has come back after a long-term injury too. I try to make a fair judgement and give opportunities to the others knocking on the door."