AVB rules out Alex recall
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has made it clear that he will not bring Alex in from the cold against Fulham despite an injury crisis.
Last Updated: 24/12/11 2:14pm
Andre Villas-Boas is prepared to go up against Fulham with John Terry as his only recognised centre-back after making it clear that he will not bring Alex in from the cold.
The Chelsea manager has a defensive crisis to deal with after Branislav Ivanovic limped out of Thursday's 1-1 draw with Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
David Luiz is battling to recover from a knee injury for the Boxing Day derby but if he is not fit there is a big decision for Villas-Boas to make about who should partner Terry.
Villas-Boas has previously declared that Alex and Nicolas Anelka, who were sidelined after submitting transfer requests, could force their way back into his plans.
However, a recall for Alex has now been ruled out as Villas-Boas considers less obvious alternatives at the heart of his back line.
Asked after the game against Tottenham if he had changed his mind about Alex ahead of Monday's fixture, Villas-Boas simply said: "No."
In fairness, Chelsea coped admirably at White Hart Lane with the loss of Ivanovic, despite Jose Bosingwa being forced to move from right-back to centre-half for what was possibly the first time in his entire Stamford Bridge career.
Paulo Ferreira also impressed at right-back having not previously featured in the Premier League this season.
"This was a fantastic adaptation and another solution that we have in the squad," Villas-Boas said.
With Ivanovic almost certain to miss the next match, Villas-Boas may play young midfielder Oriol Romeu alongside Terry.
"Hopefully, David can return for contention for the game against Fulham," he said.
"But, if not, from Oriol to Bosingwa, both can play in that position - and Paulo has done it in the past."
Any defensive crisis may last no more than a week, with Bolton confirming on Friday that talks had begun with Chelsea over the possible sale of Gary Cahill.
Villas-Boas added: "I think you know that we will be in the market for a centre-half. It's pretty obvious based on the fact that we've accepted Alex's transfer request.
"We'll have to let the market open and then find out what happens regarding Alex.
"We will have to respond quickly in the market, not because of the urgency but because we're willing to fill that position with one more central defender."