Chelsea's Preparation For Leeds Game Hampered by Delayed Flight

Rafa Benitez

Chelsea's hopes of finding time to prepare for Wednesday's Capital One Cup quarter-final at Leeds United have been further hampered after they were forced to put back their return flight from Japan due to noise restrictions over night-time take-offs from Toyko.

The European champions had hoped to return to London immediately after Sunday's final of the Club World Cup against Corinthians, arriving back at Heathrow in the small hours of morning. However, they will now spend an extra night in Yokohama and depart at around 11am on Monday, touching down in the early afternoon, a delay that will effectively deny the squad another 12 hours' recovery time ahead of the cup tie at Elland Road.

Chelsea had always intended to travel to West Yorkshire, for a fixture that has been eagerly anticipated by fans of both clubs, on the day of the game with preparation time horribly limited for Rafael Benítez and his players. The interim first-team manager has admitted he started drawing up a potential lineup and assessing scouting reports on Leeds as early as Friday last week though, at that stage, he could not gauge which players would be available for selection for the confrontation with the Championship side.

John Terry, who missed the Club World Cup after suffering a minor reaction to a knee ligament injury, will not be considered for the match as he continues his rehabilitation. An assessment will be made on Daniel Sturridge, another absent in Japan, to see whether he can feature after a spell out with a hamstring injury.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Dominic Fifield in Yokohama, for The Observer on Saturday 15th December 2012 23.00 Europe/London

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