Chelsea get back to Premier League action as they entertain Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.
Captain John Terry has been on the sidelines since injuring his knee against Liverpool in early November and it seems talk of an early return was premature as Benitez has revealed that the problem has proven to be a little more complicated than first thought.
While Terry is able to take part in training, he sometimes has problems with inflammation the following day and Benitez has claimed the defender is likely to miss the festive period.
The Spaniard is also sweating on the fitness of Ryan Bertrand after he was forced off during Wednesday’s win over Leeds with a groin injury. He wasn’t able to train on Friday but his fitness will be assessed ahead of Sunday’s game.
Striker Sturridge has been missing in recent weeks with a hamstring injury but has returned to light training and Benitez will also assess his fitness after Saturday’s session to see if he’s in contention for the Villa match. Here is what Benitez told Chelsea’s official website.
‘Terry trained today, just running, He was on the pitch but he is not available yet. He was not training with the ball, just the warm-up.
‘The knee is quite complicated but the fact he is on the pitch is positive news. But we cannot predict how long it will take. I hope he will play over Christmas but I cannot guarantee anything.
‘He has an inflammation and sometimes it is going well, today in the warm up he was fine, but the day after sometimes he has a problem.’
‘He has a little pain. Today he couldn’t train but we will decide tomorrow and we haven’t ruled him out of Sunday’s game.
‘Daniel Sturridge is training but he was not training with us because of his hamstring problem. There is another training session before the game and if he is training well I will have to decide if he will be in the squad or the team.’
Chelsea have no further injury worries but fatigue may be an issue for some players after the Blues grueling round-trip to Japan for the Word Club Cup.
We’ll have a full match preview of the Aston Villa game up shortly, but what would your starting line-up be for the game? Get involved in the comments section below.