Kaoru Mitoma is “ready to play” according to Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi ahead of a hotly anticipated fixture against Chelsea.

The midfielder, who suffered an ankle injury in Albion’s 2-0 loss to Brentford, had been seen training on Thursday and has also been working with the team today.

A decision will be made on whether he will play tomorrow, as De Zerbi added that he hadn’t finalised his starting team yet.

In his press conference, De Zerbi said: “He is good, he trained Thursday and today. I haven’t decided the XI now, I will do this tomorrow but we are ready to play him.”

Mitoma had previously told media that he was still targeting a spot in the Japanese World Cup squad and his return to Albion in coming games seem like a positive sign of progress.

Elsewhere in the team news, De Zerbi also added that Adam Lallana was “good” and in contention to play but that the team were still assessing defensive pair Joel Veltman and Tariq Lamptey.

Both players are still said to “have some problems” but could potentially feature in the side to face Graham Potter’s Chelsea on Saturday.

The Argus: De Zerbi gave some hints to his selection for the weekend but said his starting XI is not decidedDe Zerbi gave some hints to his selection for the weekend but said his starting XI is not decided

De Zerbi added that he was happy to keep players waiting to find out the starting XI. When asked when he tells his team who is playing, he answered “sometimes the day before or on the morning of the game”.

“It depends,” he continued. “If there is some doubt about players I wait until the last moment.”

The return of key players across the pitch will be an optimistic sight for fans who are keen to see Albion get their first win under De Zerbi.

While the team has yet to take three points from any of their games, De Zerbi added that he was happy with performances so far and that the team were heading in the right direction.

Supporters will have to wait and see how the team pans out ahead of the game, but as key players make their way back into the starting line-up there is hope that the Seagulls can snatch a win.