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Plastic pitch concerns Carlo

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Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti admits he is reluctant to risk Ashley Cole on Spartak Moscow's plastic pitch on Tuesday.

The Blues travel to Russia for the UEFA Champions League Group F encounter, which will be staged at Spartak's Luzhniki Stadium.

Defender Cole has been battling an ongoing ankle problem and often does not train for two days after a game in an attempt to manage his fitness.

Blues manager Ancelotti will wait until his medical team have assessed how the 29-year-old's troublesome ankle reacts to training on the artificial surface before deciding whether to give him a run out on Tuesday evening.

"He needs more days to recover," said Ancelotti.

"For a year, he has had a little problem with his ankle. After the game you maybe have to give him two days of recovery instead of one.

"I played for 10 years with a problem with my knee. To play a lot of games in a season is a lot of stress for your body."


Midfielder Michael Essien is also a doubt after recently suffering two serious knee injuries, and Ancelotti added: "He (Cole) doesn't have a problem today but this pitch is different. It is the same for Essien.

"After training, we will take a decision. If he is comfortable on this pitch, he'll play. If he is not comfortable, he will not."

Essien could feel the pressure to play after fellow midfielder Ramires was sidelined for the clash with an ankle knock.

The Brazilian was the latest casualty in Ancelotti's injury-plagued squad, with Alex, Didier Drogba, Jose Bosingwa, Yossi Benayoun and Frank Lampard already ruled out of Tuesday's game.


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