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Chance for Chelsea to blood youth against Shrewsbury

Jose Mourinho may welcome the chance to rest some of his first-team players against Shrewsbury Town in the Capital One Cup fourth round, following a recent congested fixture schedule in the Premier League and Champions League.

Chelsea are currently leading the title race by four points, though it could be a different type of match in Shropshire, despite the Blues being odds-on at 2/7 with Coral for victory. The last time the hosts recorded a win over the west London side, was the 1982/83 season when the Shrews did the double over them in what was the old division two.

They are currently flying high in League Two, and have picked up a dozen points from their last four matches, scoring 11 goals, conceding just three. A sequence of results that has seen Micky Mellon’s men surge into a play-off spot, and one point off an automatic promotion place.

Club top scorer with six strikes, James Collins hasn’t scored since winning 1-0 at York City (two games ago) and, having netted once already in the cup, will be chomping at the bit to get on the scoresheet against Mourinho’s men, and is 10/3 to do so anytime. However, Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro has notched three in his last two games, and is 11/4 to find his way to goal in the same market.

Mourinho, meanwhile, could start 17-year-old English striker Dominic Solanke, after the youngster made his Champions League debut against Maribor, with injury doubts over Diego Costa, and 36-year-old Didier Drogba playing the best part of 180 minutes in the space of five days. The exciting academy product is 4/1 to grab the opener.

Also likely to start is talented centre back Kurt Zouma, who made an appearance at Old Trafford, coming on for the last 10 minutes. He opened the scoring in the last round against Bolton Wanderers, and is an 8/1 anytime chance, and 25/1 to strike first. As well as Solanke and Zouma, Mourinho could also hand a start in midfield to Nathan Ake, and the 19-year-old Dutchman is 7/1 to net in the anytime market.

Despite having a number of youngsters, Mourinho will no doubt throw in some experience, and Andre Schurrle’s energy and direct running could be a useful weapon against the League Two outfit, with the German 4/1 to grab the first goal.