Returning players 'strengthen my hand' - Pardew

ALAN Pardew has been given a welcome fitness boost with three of Albion's first-team stars set to return to action against Chelsea on Monday.

Jonny Evans, Kieran Gibbs and Grzegorz Krychowiak all missed the defeat against Southampton after picking up injuries in a "costly" duo of away trips according to Head Coach Pardew.

But the trio look set for a return to action at Stamford Bridge, with Alan glad to "strengthen his hand" ahead of a testing fixture.

"Our delivery of performance and our level of play right up until the Liverpool game was probably the best we've been. But to suffer four injuries like we did, three from Liverpool and one from Man City, was costly against Southampton.

"The good news for us is that we should have more players available. I think Gibbs will be available. I think Evans will be available. I think Grzegorz will be available. That's going to strengthen my hand in picking the team and strengthen our hand from the bench as well.

"We can look at games after and say 'okay, we have a decent run of games' but we need to put some points on the board. It's been one of those weeks where we've had to reposition ourselves in our minds and say 'we really are going to carry the fight' and the first port of call is going to be Chelsea."

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