BERTRAND KEEN TO IMPRESS
It is almost four years since Ryan Bertrand spent an extended period at Chelsea, having been out on loan at four Football League clubs in that time.
After spells with Oldham Athletic, Norwich City, Reading and Nottingham Forest, the 21-year-old will spend the rest of the season with his parent club and after coming through 45 minutes of yesterday's reserve team win over West Ham, he is hoping to make an impact on Carlo Ancelotti's squad.
'It feels good to know I am here for the next few months with the backing of the manager, he says it's good to see me here and I'm looking forward to it,' Bertrand said after the game.
'I feel alright after the injury, and it was good to get 45 minutes out there. The last time I played for Chelsea was in pre-season but it's a long time since I played a competitive one in the reserves.'
Ancelotti's confidence is important for the left-back, who featured in Chelsea colours at both Crystal Palace and Ajax in pre-season, and is pictured winning a header in yesterday's reserve game.
'He speaks a lot, he told me to play 45 against West Ham on Wednesday and to get my fitness up so I can be in and around it,' the youngster explained. 'If I can keep doing well I might get a chance here or there.
'Over the past few years I feel I've developed well out on loan and it's been good for me. I just think now I've done what I had to do on loan and it's time to give it a go with Chelsea.
'I don't have any set targets, but hopefully I will get some appearances and can be a part of the first team squad.'
With Yury Zhirkov still finding his way back to fitness, Bertrand is the obvious understudy should regular left-back Ashley Cole suffer either injury or suspension, though it should also be noted that the newly-recruited David Luiz can also operate down the left.
It has been a long time coming for a player who has accumulated for than 150 appearances in his club career, which also includes a spell with Bournemouth in the first half of the 2006/07 season, and been a regular for England Under 21s.
'I don't have a favourite loan but I'd probably say Reading or Forest, I played a lot for both of them, and it's unusual to have played so many games out on loan without having done for Chelsea, so I'm really hoping I can get my chance here now,' he added.
The next step for the London-born Bertrand will be to find his way on to the bench, and his first opportunity comes on Saturday in our FA Cup fourth round replay against Everton. Having returned to Stamford Bridge at the beginning of January, he will not be cup-tied.