Brazilian defender Alex has been ruled out for up to a month after a thigh injury suffered in training this week. He joins Petr Cech on the sidelines with both likely to miss the rest of the pre-season campaign.
Hilario is expected to step up in his absence in the match against Ajax on Friday, with Turnbull getting the second half, but other than the loss of Alex, the squad is unchanged from that which beat Crystal Palace last weekend.
This means we should see more game time for Essien and Mikel as they look to regain full fitness, and also a whole host of the reserve squad and youth squad, apart from those away at the Euro U19’s.
When asked the main aim for the Ajax match, Ancelotti responded; “It is a pre-season match so we don’t have too many targets, just to improve our condition and put the players in better condition for the start of the season.”
“I think that we played with a good tempo in the first game and if we can do the same it would be good. This week was a hard week in training, and the players could be a little bit tired on Friday. Some will play longer, I don’t want to make a lot of changes because we now need the players to be playing 90 minutes.”
With most of the World Cup players in the squad now having returned to Cobham, it’s expected they will join up with the team in Germany in time for the Frankfurt and Hamburg matches.
This match however, will be an interesting look at how some of our younger players get on against a more technical team than Palace, and should be a good barometer as to where our academy lays in relation to the famous Ajax’s.