The international break is not quite over but the countdown is well underway to Chelsea's Premier League clash with Newcastle. The Blues head to St James' Park on Saturday hoping to build upon two dramatic matches against Tottenham and Manchester City.

Mauricio Pochettino's preparation has had to see him do without stars such as Conor Gallagher and Cole Palmer, with a smaller group being available during the first week of the break. The Blues boss has however, had the benefit of working with captain Reece James who did not join up with England in a bid to maintain his recovery from injury.

Those not joining up with their international sides had time for a break, but Monday saw them back in action at Cobham ahead of a crucial match with the west London side hoping to lift themselves from 10th in the division. takes a look at what can be gleaned from the club's media releases from the sessions.

Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia spotted

Pochettino revealed that there was hope the duo could be involved in Chelsea's plans following the international break but they would be monitored 'day by day' as they looked to complete their comebacks. The pair worked together on Chelsea's training pitches ahead of the west London side's match against Man City but were absent from pictures and videos that the Blues put out over the course of the first week of the Premier League pause.

Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia were both featured on Monday night, however, and pictured running together underneath the floodlights at Chelsea's Cobham training base. They remained separate from the rest of the group, so perhaps the possibility of returning versus Newcastle remains unlikely but their progress over the course of this week is certainly to be watched.

Perhaps that should come as no surprise following Pochettino's last conversation with Nkunku. The Blues boss explained: "We had some conversation and he said to me, 'Coach, I want to be ready for after international break, Newcastle'. I asked him yesterday and he said 'hmmm', and I said 'you are liar'. 'No, no I am ready'.

"It is close and he is doing really well. We are so happy with him, the way he is recovering, he is very professional. Romeo Lavia is also close. They trained today on the pitch. Hope that next week will be involved with the team and see after. Day by day see when it is possible to play with the team."

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Thiago Silva returns

Thiago Silva was one figure back in action after the veteran spent time back in his homeland last week. The Brazilian was pictured completing work in the gym alongside Raheem Sterling before going on to complete some ballwork with the rest of the team later in the day.

Silva, should he play against Newcastle, as he is expected, will become Chelsea's oldest ever outfield player. A stellar record having already become the Blues' oldest goalscorer last time out.

Injury boosts

While there remains some uncertainty about the rate of recovery of Nkunku and Lavia, Chelsea do appear to have received a double injury boost in defence. While Pochettino already has a full backline of players who have not featured for their countries in Reece James, Thiago Silva, Benoit Badiashile and Marc Cucurella, he seems to have two more contenders for the team before Axel Disasi makes his return from France duty.

Levi Colwill and Malo Gusto pulled out of the England and Franced under-21 squads respectively due to injury. Colwill missed Chelsea's match against Manchester City due to a shoulder injury, while Gusto underwent a scan with Les Bleus that showed a knee injury. Both players were involved on Monday however, with Gusto showing little hesitancy to slide across the floor in a rondo, while his teammate was pictured dribbling during a drill.

Youngsters spotted

For much of this season Pochettino has relied upon Chelsea's academy to help facilitate sessions given the number of injuries in the Blues' squad. International breaks have further provided an opportunity for the 51-year-old head coach to become more familiar with members of the development squad and under-18s who have not been called up to international duty in addition to his senior players.

Last week saw the likes of Alfie Gilchrist and Alex Matos join training, while the under-18 trained with the senior side ahead of a friendly fixture. Monday saw a continuation of a youthful influence as the likes of Travis Akomeah and Jimmy-Jay Morgan featured in the session.

The latter has scored three times in 10 appearances for the development side,with the 17-year-old often partnering Ronnie Stutter up front. Akomeah has regular featured in the heart of the under-18s defence, having been part of under-21 squads last term before picking up an injury.

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