Kalou called into front line for Chelsea

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The Independent Online

Chelsea may go into their Champions' League Group A match against Barcelona at the Nou Camp tomorrow night without an established striker. Didier Drogba, who scored against the Spaniards at Stamford Bridge 12 days ago, was substituted during Chelsea's 2-0 Premiership win over Sheffield United on Saturday and Andrei Shevchenko has had treatment on a strained leg muscle.

Drogba injured his foot in a challenge with Claude Davis. "It was not a precaution," Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, said. "He couldn't play. He was feeling a lot of pain."

The pair, who cost a total of £55.5m, travelled to the Catalan capital yesterday but their injuries mean Chelsea may face the holders with Salomon Kalou as the focal point of their attack. He has scored one goal in 12 appearances since an £8m transfer from Feyenoord last summer.

"He is improving a lot," Mourinho said of the 21-year-old who, like Drogba, hails from the Ivory Coast. "Sometimes he's a little bit naive in his actions but the kid has a lot of qualities and Barcelona would be a big occasion for him. It would be a step up for him in terms of experience."

The match will be the sixth time Chelsea have met Barcelona in 20 months, and while the English champions will virtually guarantee a place in the knock-out phase if they draw, Frank Rijkaard's team need a win after gaining four out of nine points so far. Chelsea have nine points from three games.

Chelsea won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in a match the goalkeepers Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini both missed. "Carlo is fit, that's why he was on the bench [in Sheffield]," Mourinho said. "But Friday was the first time he had trained with the first-team squad and he needs to improve. He is available for selection."

Henrique Hilario did his prospects of retaining his place no harm by saving Danny Webber's penalty on Saturday. Mourinho said: "He is playing very well. He's very cool with the ball and looks comfortable."

Chelsea have struck a deal reported to be worth £5m with Leeds United over an alleged approach to three of the Yorkshire club's youth players in breach of Premier League and FA rules, a joint statement from the governing bodies said.

The Leeds chairman Ken Bates, who sold Chelsea to Roman Abramovich in 2003, reported his former club to the FA on 2 August over approaches to Tom Taiwo and Michael Wood and an attempt to sign Daniel Rose. Taiwo and Woods later moved to London and Rose stayed at Leeds. Bates said at the time: "We have considerable and great weight of evidence to demonstrate quite clearly... that Chelsea behaved consistently aggressively in stealing these two players from Leeds United.

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