Ray Wilkins has confirmed that Didier Drogba will return to the squad for the Burnley game on Wednesday night, a match that is likely to see some players rested.

The Ivorian captain has not started since injuring his knee against CFR Cluj at the start of October, but has featured as a substitute against Roma and Sunderland in recent weeks, before being left behind for the trip to Blackburn on Sunday.

Assistant first team coach Wilkins explained that the 30-year-old forward has been fully involved with the rest of the squad over the last couple of days.

'Didier trained very well yesterday, also trained today with the guys and is back in the squad, so that's very pleasant for our situation because obviously we do have Nic [Anelka] in fantastic form. With Didier breathing down his neck for a game it is a nice situation to be in.'

Drogba will be the only one from the injury list to return for the Carling Cup fourth round tie at Stamford Bridge, but others are close to joining him.

'Joe [Cole] is coming on but won't be involved tomorrow, we will have to wait and see on Joe. He has a couple of little niggles so we'll hang on,' Wilkins began.

'Michael Ballack is doing very well, he has joined the group again and is back in the fold as well. We are gradually getting to a situation where we have a full squad.

'Obviously Michael Essien is the one that will be sitting out for quite a period but Ashley Cole is doing some light training now and from that aspect we are delighted.'

We have prospered in the Carling Cup in recent seasons, with two wins in the last four seasons, as well as being runners up at Wembley in February. It is a pedigree Wilkins, and indeed Luiz Felipe Scolari, is keen to continue.

'We've done exceptionally well over the last couple of years in the Carling Cup and the boys have actually been to Felipe and expressed the fact that they want to play,' Wilkins explained. 'That's an extremely positive attitude to take, and I'm delighted they've taken that stance as it shows there is this winning mentality in the club.'

That said, there will still be changes from the side that won in Lancashire on Sunday.

'I had a chat with Felipe this morning and he said that six or seven regulars won't play tomorrow night but will be involved. We didn't actually decide on the side, but he said six or seven changes tomorrow.

'The size of the squad we have means we are fortunate here to have a large squad of exceptional footballers, so the team that plays tomorrow will be one of rich talent,' assured Wilkins.

He also disclosed that Burnley have been thoroughly checked out to ensure they do not spring any surprises on us when they visit.

'We've prepared for Burnley as we would a Premier League side and it's vitally important we do our homework on them and know the ins and outs,' he said. 'They are bringing 6,500 people down to see the game, so we must pay them the utmost respect and put our Premier League status upon them when they visit.

'Up front they are quite useful and mobile. [Martin] Paterson is mobile and [Wade] Elliott is quick so it's up to us to make sure they are doing most of the defending because we don't wish to see those guys on the ball too much in the final third.'