Strong Chelsea line-up to face Portsmouth

Roberto Di Matteo has confirmed that Chelsea’s team selection for their FA Cup third round tie with Portsmouth shows their intentions towards the trophy, chelseafc.com reports.

The Italian took the pre-match press conference at the club’s Cobham training ground and confirmed that Didier Drogba and Salamon Kalou are out. The Ivorian pair will travel to their national side ahead of the forthcoming African Cup of Nations, which sees them unavailable for a month. Chelsea asked if they could hold onto the pair for the FA Cup tie, but their request was denied by the Ivory Coast FA. Chelsea captain John Terry will see his fitness tested today after suffering a niggling knee injury.

Di Matteo is confident the Chelsea side will be strong and continue to keep the success the Blues have had in the competition in recent seasons. Chelsea won the trophy in 2009 and 2010 to add to their six overall wins. The Blues assistant believes a cup run is vitally important for the confidence of the squad ahead of a tricky month in their chase for the Premier League title.

The Italian said: ‘We will play what will be our strongest team, looking at the fitness level of the players. The club has been very successful in the last decade in this competition and we would like to continue this. When you have a cup run, it gives everybody confidence and it can lift the supporters and the FA Cup is a big trophy’.

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