Chelsea v Fulham preview
West London rivals Chelsea and Fulham meet for the first time this season in the Carling Cup on Wednesday night.
Last Updated: 21/09/11 10:10am
West London rivals Chelsea and Fulham have their first encounter of the season as they meet in the Carling Cup on Wednesday night.
But, amidst a heavy schedule, both managers have confirmed that they will make changes to their squads after gruelling Premier League games on Sunday.
Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas makes his coaching debut in the competition and has revealed that owner Roman Abramovich is urging him to use younger players for the game.
Chelsea fell to their first defeat of the season in a 3-1 loss at Manchester United on Sunday, but the likes of Fernando Torres, Juan Mata and Frank Lampard are set to be rested, especially with Saturday's league clash with Swansea in mind.
Fulham have played over double the amount of competitive games this season after their Europa League campaign began at the end of June - almost two months before Chelsea got their season underway.
Martin Jol is yet to register a domestic win with the Cottagers after taking over in the summer, although he will take comfort from becoming the first side to take points off Manchester City in their 2-2 draw on Sunday.
Like Villas-Boas, Jol has underlined his intent to make changes to his squad despite naming strong sides in the competition during his time at Tottenham.
Chelsea team news
Didier Drogba is set to make his return to action against Fulham, after suffering concussion in a Premier League clash with Norwich last month.
Drogba is expected to line up alongside 18-year-old Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, who came on as a second-half substitute in the defeat at Old Trafford.
Other Chelsea youngsters likely to make an appearance include Josh McEachran, Ryan Bertrand and Oriol Romeu.
Fulham team news
Fulham were hoping that defender Rafik Halliche would make his first appearance of the season at Stamford Bridge, although Jol explained that he is now a doubt after becoming ill.
Andrew Johnson, Bjorn Helge Riise and Simon Davies are definite absentees through injury.
Deadline day signing Bryan Ruiz could also make his second start of the season with Jol admitting that he made a mistake by playing the striker from the start on his debut against Blackburn a few weeks ago.