For Philipp Prosenik and Jeffrey Bruma, the 2010/11 season started with much promise.
Recent news on the injury front has, however, threatened to de-rail their plans for the campaign, one more seriously than the other.
With John Terry and Alex both already battling problems which could keep them out of the weekend trip to Aston Villa, Dutch international Bruma may have been in line to partner Branislav Ivanovic for his first league start.
However, he has picked up a hamstring problem whilst on international duty with Holland’s Under-21 side in the Ukraine, which meant he was unable to participate in the second leg of their UEFA Under-21 Championship Qualifying Play-off.
No further news has been given on the severity of the problem, but coming just a few weeks after minor hernia surgery, it represents another setback for a player who is desperate to break into Carlo Ancelotti’s plans on a more regular basis.
Whilst Bruma will probably be back in the short-term, Prosenik faces a potentially longer layoff.
After three seperate injuries curtailed much of his debut season in England in 2009/10, a healthy pre-season saw the Austrian striker hit the ground running in the early part of the season, scoring three goals in five outings before picking up a knee injury away to Tottenham.
What appeared to be a mild spain of a knee ligament – and therefore a few weeks on the sidelines – has now been diagnosed as a more serious problem regarding damaged cartilage damage.
When damaging knee meniscus last season, the cartilage was apparently affected more than was realised at the time, and the problem picked up against Spurs has seemingly exacerbated things further.
It means Dermot Drummy’s Under-18 team will be without their leading forward for some time, potentially as long as five months. It’s a desperate blow to a player who had looked like making up for lost time after a problematic twelve months.
Drummy’s alternatives are thin in numbers, as witnessed by Ismail Seremba taking the number nine shirt in Saturday’s defeat to Arsenal.
Bobby Devyne will perhaps play in a more central role on a regular basis, whilst there is also the chance to use Marko Mitrovic as an overage player, but other schoolboys who could get the call include Reece Mitchell, who has been called up by England’s Under-16s, and Frenchman Yann Gueho.
Hopefully both players recover and continue to show why they are highly rated at Stamford Bridge.