Under-fire Terry to face Spurs
London - England captain John Terry has recovered from injury and will lead Chelsea in Thursday's Premier League London derby clash at Tottenham Hotspur despite facing charges of racial abuse.
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas, speaking before the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced on Wednesday that it had authorised the prosecution of Terry, had said the club would support him "whatever the outcome" of the inquiry.
The CPS investigated claims the 31-year-old centre-back racially abused fellow defender Anton Ferndinand during a stormy west London derby at Queens Park Rangers in October.
Villas-Boas told reporters he had total confidence in Terry, who has recovered from a slight Achilles tendon injury picked up in training, and, together with Brazilian defenders David Luiz and midfielder Ramires, was available for selection.
Asked if he had any doubts about Terry's state of mind ahead of what promises to be a red-hot derby match between third-placed Spurs and Chelsea, who are two points behind in fourth, Villas-Boas said he was sure Terry had the experience to cope.
"For a player with John's experience, it won't be a problem," said the Portuguese coach.
"The only thing I know is that I will be fully supportive of John Terry, whatever the outcome of the situation.
"He has my full support, he has the club's full support. He represents this club to a maximum level and we are very glad to have a player of his quality in our team.
"We know exactly his human values and personality. They are never in doubt."
The CPS decision was announced little more than 24 hours before Chelsea visit White Hart Lane, their first match in a run of four games in 11 days during the hectic Christmas period.
Terry has repeatedly denied racially abusing Ferdinand and following the game at QPR's Loftus Road said: "I'm disappointed that people have leapt to the wrong conclusions about the context of what I was seen to be saying to Anton Ferdinand.
"I would never say such a thing and I'm saddened that people would think so."
Tottenham, who have a game in hand on Chelsea, have several injury worries with manager Harry Redknapp likely to be without Gareth Bale as well as fellow pacey winger Aaron Lennon.
He told reporters on Wednesday that Bale was "very doubtful" with an ankle sprain having already lost Lennon to a hamstring injury suffered in Sunday's home win over Sunderland.
Redknapp said forward Jermain Defoe and defender Ledley King were also doubtful and added that striker Emmanuel Adebayor missed training on Wednesday with a foot injury.
Chelsea confirmed their home Premier League fixture against Fulham on Boxing Day, December 26, will go ahead as planned despite the threat of a strike by London underground staff.
In a statement the club advised fans to monitor transport websites and allow plenty of time for their journeys.
The planned strike by London Underground train drivers is the result of a dispute over workers' bank holiday pay.
The legality of the walkout has been challenged by the transport authorities and was due to be decided in the High Court in London on Wednesday.