Injuries force Chelsea to select keeper Ross Turnbull

Ross Turnbull
Turnbull will be making his first league appearance for Chelsea on Saturday

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Ross Turnbull will start in goal for the Blues in Saturday’s Premier League match against West Ham.

The 25-year-old comes in for second-choice keeper Hilario, who has been ruled out with a groin injury.

Hilario has deputised for Petr Cech, who is sidelined with a calf problem, in Chelsea’s last two matches.

Cech and Hilario now face a race to be fit for Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg with Inter Milan.

Chelsea’s other remaining goalkeeper is Rhys Taylor, who is likely to start on the bench against the Hammers.

The 19-year-old academy product has yet to make a first-team appearance for the Blues.

The Londoners, who are two points behind league leaders Manchester United with a game in hand going into Saturday’s match with West Ham, will also be without Portuguese central defender Ricardo Carvalho, while Ashley Cole (ankle), Michael Essien and Jose Bosingwa (both knee) remain long-term absentees.

“We have a problem with the goalkeepers,” admitted Ancelotti. “We don’t know if Hilario or Petr are able to play on Tuesday.

“But Saturday I want to put the best line-up out because it’s an important game. We need to win and go back to the top of the table, so I want to put the best players out.

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“But we have problems. Essien, Cole, and Bosingwa are out. Also Carvalho and Hilario are not able to play. So, in goal, Turnbull will play.”

Turnbull, who joined on a free transfer from Middlesbrough last summer, has made only two appearances for Chelsea; in the 4-0 Carling Cup win over Bolton and the Blue’s 2-2 draw with APOEL in this season’s Champions League group stage.

However, Ancelotti has faith in his third-choice keeper.

“I’m not worried,” said Ancelotti. “The performance of the team does not rely upon the goalkeeper. I don’t want to say we can play without a goalkeeper, because that’s an important player for the team, but I have confidence in Turnbull.

“He has not played a lot of games this season but, with the work with our goalkeeping coach, he has improved very well.

“I have no problem about playing Turnbull against Inter Milan.”

The Blues lost Cech with a calf strain in the 2-1 opening leg defeat by Inter Milan at the San Siro and deputy Hilario collected his abductor injury during last Sunday’s 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final victory over Stoke.

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