Chelsea FC vs AFC Bournemouth - Gianfranco Zola talks up Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson

Posted Wednesday, December 19, 2018 by PA

Chelsea FC vs AFC Bournemouth - Gianfranco Zola talks up Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson

Gianfranco Zola has spoken of Chelsea’s admiration for Callum Wilson ahead of Wednesday’s Carabao Cup quarter-final with Bournemouth.

The 26-year-old England striker has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in January.

Chelsea FC vs AFC Bournemouth - Gianfranco Zola talks up Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson

Chelsea assistant boss Zola said: “I’m sure there are a lot of players linked with us. Certainly Callum Wilson is doing well for his club and is of interest not only of us but for many.

“He’s strong, fast, and he sees the goal. I like because he’s quick, but also strong in the air, which is a very important quality.

“But I don’t want to go too much into it. He’s doing very well. I’m pleased for him. He has a lot of qualities that can take him a long way.”

Chelsea’s forward issues could be highlighted against Bournemouth, with Alvaro Morata (knee) out and Eden Hazard a doubt with a foot problem, meaning Olivier Giroud could be the only option up front.

Hazard was deployed as a ‘false nine’ against Manchester City and Brighton and will undergo a fitness test.

The congested festive fixture list may mean Hazard is not risked. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Cesc Fabregas and Gary Cahill could feature.

“Hazard is one of our best players, so to have him available is a big deal, but we don’t want to compromise anything,” Zola added.

Chelsea beat the Cherries at the same stage in the same competition 12 months ago, before losing 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League little more than a month later.

Zola added: “We know Bournemouth is a dangerous team. They’ve gone far, even from last year. They keep improving.

“A very good coach (Eddie Howe) and a good team. We know the game will have a lot of difficulties.

“With all respect we know our potential, we’re getting better. We’ve had our bad spell, but we’re coming strong from that. We approach the game with a lot of confidence.”

Bournemouth have been boosted by the news the injury suffered by Tyrone Mings at the weekend is not as bad as first feared.

Mings was forced off during the first half of Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Wolves with what appeared to be a back injury.

But manager Eddie Howe has allayed fears the defender faces a lengthy lay-off.

He told the club website: “Tyrone Mings’ injury isn’t as bad as we first thought.

“He took a knock to his hip and at first we thought he could be out for weeks but by the looks of things it looks more like he’ll be out for days, so we’re monitoring him.”

Nevertheless Mings, Wilson and captain Simon Francis are doubts for the Cherries.

Howe added: “Callum Wilson had a hamstring problem and we rushed him back to be fit for Wolves. We still have to be careful with him to make sure he can perform over the coming games.

“Simon Francis has a groin problem. It’s more of a niggle than anything else, we’ll wait and see how he performs this week. I can’t give a clear answer on his availability for Chelsea.

“The options are less than I’d normally have, we do have a number of injury concerns so we’ll have to manage the squad well, picking a team that we think can play very well without risking the players we have.”

Bournemouth will head to Stamford Bridge looking to reach the last four of a major cup competition for the first time.

“It’s a great game for us, we’re very excited to be in the competition and trying to get to the semi-final,” said Howe.

“It’s well documented that we’ve never been in a major cup semi-final before, so what greater incentive can we have? We’re very excited to try and make that happen.

“We have a massive hurdle to overcome, one I really want my players and staff to relish and try to rise to.”

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