Erik Lamela is edging towards full fitness but will not be ready for Tottenham Hotspur's Premier League showdown with Chelsea.

Lamela, 24, has not featured for Mauricio Pochettino's side since the goalless draw with Bournemouth on 22 October, missing the club's last 13 games with a troublesome hip injury suffered during a training session.

During his time on the sidelines, the former Roma forward was given permission to visit his native Argentina to deal with a family matter, returning to the club's training base in Enfield on 13 December.

While reports suggested the Argentina international could possibly return for the league match against Southampton on 28 December, he missed the trip to the south coast and the 4-1 win over Watford on New Year's Day. Pochettino has now ruled out a possible return at White Hart Lane on Wednesday (4 January).

However, Spurs will have Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Walker available once again. The defensive duo were both suspended for Sunday's visit to Vicarage Road after picking up five yellow cards this season. Kieran Trippier and Kevin Wimmer stepped in to replace them, but the first-team duo are likely to return to the starting XI.

Over the festive period, Pochettino was able to substitute Dele Alli and Danny Rose early with his side cruising against Watford on Sunday, with Harry Kane also coming off before the end of the contest.

Spurs will be try to deny Chelsea a 14<sup>th consecutive Premier League victory when the London rivals meet at White Hart Lane. The Blues can extend their lead at the summit of English football to eight points if they inflict another defeat on their rivals, having already ended Tottenham's unbeaten start to the season when the two sides met at Stamford Bridge in November.

Erik Lamela
Lamela suffered his hip injury during a training session. Getty