CHELSEA are confident they have enough goalkeeping cover after first choice Petr Cech was ruled out for a month with a tear in his right calf.
The 28-year-old sustained the injury in training on Tuesday and scans revealed the damage would eliminate him from the rest of the club’s pre-season build-up.
Cech is also likely to miss the Community Shield against Manchester United at Wembley on August 8 as well as the start of Chelsea’s defence of the title against West Brom at Stamford Bridge the following weekend.
The Czech Republic’s player of the year was out of action for two months earlier this year with a similar injury he sustained during Chelsea’s Champions League clash against Inter Milan.
He was replaced by Hilario for the remainder of the opening leg in Italy but Ross Turnbull played in the return leg, which Chelsea lost 1-0, after the Portuguese keeper also collected an injury.
A spokesman for Chelsea said: “Scans have shown Petr has torn a calf muscle in his right leg and is expected to be out for a month.
“He suffered the injury in training and is now expected to miss the start of our competitive season, as well as the remainder of our pre-season friendlies, the next of which comes at Ajax on Friday.”
But both reserve goalkeepers played a part in Chelsea’s double-winning season last term and are more than experienced enough to step in.
Turnbull, signed on a free transfer from Middlesbrough last summer, made his debut for the club in the Champions League against APOEL last season.
His Premier League debut came against West Ham and although he conceded the goal which enabled Inter to put Chelsea out of the Champions League at Stamford Bridge, Turnbull has a competent game.
Hilario is the more experienced of the two reserves and is almost certain to get the nod at the start of the season. The Portugal goalkeeper, 34, has regularly produced some outstanding displays when called upon to deputise for Cech.
Hilario is certain to play in the Community Shield and in Chelsea’s opener.
Chelsea’s other reserve keeper, Rhys Taylor, 20, is currently on a two-month loan stint with Crewe.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are yet to decide if they will follow other Barclays Premier League clubs and ban the use of the controversial World Cup vuvuzelas at Stamford Bridge.
The plastic trumpets have already been banned by Arsenal and Tottenham as well as a number of other top-flight clubs.
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