Posted on: Wed 21 Feb 2007

A rapid acceleration in recovery from a knee injury means Ashley Cole will start Chelsea Reserves' game this evening at Reading.


The left-back strained a posterior cruciate ligament on the final day of January and speaking a week ago, said he was hopeful of a return to training by the Carling Cup Final. A resumption in playing activity in two weeks was his hope.


However Cole is ahead of that schedule with his selection at left-back tonight.


The game is an upper table clash in the Barclays Premiership Reserve League South with the Berkshire side top and leading Chelsea by three points, having played a game less.


Our second string will be defending an impeccable away record this season with five wins out of five. They have scored 12 on the road with just one goal conceded.


Leading the attack for Brendan Rodgers's side against the coach's former club will be newly capped Israeli international Ben Sahar.


Centre-back Adrian Pettigrew will also start for the first time after injury having made his return as a sub when a Chelsea XI took on Team China recently. Scorer of the Chelsea winner that day, 16 year-old Spaniard Sergio Tejera, keeps his place in midfield after recent impressive displays.


Reading include their first team top scorer Kevin Doyle in their side as the Irish international continues his own return to full fitness.


Adam Federici, goalkeeper in their FA Cup draw at Old Trafford at the weekend also plays, as does defender Greg Halford, a record signing from Colchester in the transfer window.


The Chelsea team tonight is:


Yves Ma Kalambay, Sam Hutchinson, Harry Worley, Adrian Pettigrew, Ashley Cole, Michael Woods, Sergio Tejera, Philip Younghusband, Ricardo Fernandes, Ben Sahar, Miroslav Stoch.


Subs: Nick Hamann, Ryan Bertrand, Jonas Elmer, Liam Bridcutt, Fabio Ferreira.




Adam Federici, Greg Halford, Julian Kelly, Jem Karacan, Sam Sodje, Alan Bennett, James Henry, Scott Davies, Kevin Doyle, Simon Cox, Simon Church.


Subs: Adam Bygrave, Mikkel Andersen, Tom Hateley, Oliver Bozanic, Viktor Illugason.


Tonight's match is at the Madejski Stadium, kick-off 7pm. Entry is £3.


Highlights will be shown on Chelsea TV's Blues News at 6.30pm on Thursday.