Terry will catch flight to bolster Chelsea's European ambitions

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The Independent Online

The Chelsea defender John Terry is intending to catch a flight to join his team-mates in time for tonight's game at Blackburn after making a court appearance in London this morning.

The Chelsea defender John Terry is intending to catch a flight to join his team-mates in time for tonight's game at Blackburn after making a court appearance in London this morning.

Terry's latest hearing on charges following a nightclub incident was originally scheduled to take place at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court yesterday. However, that was delayed due to the Queen Mother's funeral and is now set to be held this morning, after the Chelsea squad have travelled to the north-west ahead of their game at Ewood Park.

Chelsea are nevertheless counting on the fact that the hearing should start at about 9.30am and may take little more than 30 minutes to complete. That would leave Terry free to join up with the squad in time to face Blackburn, with the club needing victory to maintain pressure on fourth-placed Newcastle.

The 21-year-old defender has also shrugged off the after-effects of 12 stitches in a head wound after being taken off just 15 minutes into last Saturday's win against Everton when he crashed into a goalpost.

The midfielder Jody Morris, who has been charged along with Terry, will also appear in court but will not travel to the game at Blackburn due to an ankle injury. Chelsea also have fitness doubts over William Gallas, who has a calf problem, Celestine Babayaro and Jesper Gronkjaer. All three are expected to be fit in time for Sunday's FA Cup semi-final against Fulham. Emmanuel Petit suffered a minor ankle injury against Everton, while Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink picked up a strain, but neither problem is understood to be serious.

Blackburn have few injury worries after a weekend off and they are boosted in their attempt to open a five point gap above the bottom three by the return of record signing Andy Cole after serving a three-match suspension. The Spanish striker Yordi, who scored his first goal for the club against Southampton last week, will drop to the substitutes' bench.

However, the Blackburn manager Graeme Souness is already looking to next season and has promised changes. Souness intends to alter the way Rovers play in the future – abandoning the line-up that includes the luxury of two wide men.

"I feel that playing with two wingers makes us vulnerable at times," Souness explained. "When you are under the cosh it's not ideal. The top teams don't do it, but that's what we have got at the moment."

Damien Duff's position should be safe, but right winger Keith Gillespie and even England under-21 captain David Dunn and Turkish midfielder Tugay could all be looking over their shoulders.

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