Rafael Benitez's attempts to improve Chelsea's form have suffered a setback after goalkeeper Petr Cech was forced to withdraw from international duty with the Czech Republic with a finger injury.
Interim boss Benitez's bid to improve his record of 10 wins in 21 matches in charge continues with the Barclays Premier League clash at home to Wigan on Saturday could take place without his first-choice goalkeeper.
A statement on the club's official website read: "Petr Cech is returning to Chelsea due an injured finger and will not take part in Czech Republic's international fixture on Wednesday.
"The injury will be assessed at Cobham by the club's medical department.
"Czech Republic are playing a friendly away against Turkey ahead of two World Cup qualifiers in March."
While Ross Turnbull could be required to return in goal, having deputised last month when Cech had a groin problem, the managerial status quo remains - though former boss Jose Mourinho has been linked with a summer return to the club.
Benitez returned to his family home on the Wirral for brief respite following Chelsea's 3-2 Premier League loss at Newcastle on Saturday, a result that left the Blues with three wins in 10 matches.
That, coupled with the unravelling of Mourinho's reign at Real Madrid and his enduring popularity in west London, led to suggestions Roman Abramovich would turn to the self-titled Special One.
After the dream scenario of Pep Guardiola being drafted in ended when the former Barcelona head coach was appointed by Bayern Munich, speculation of a return for Mourinho heightened.
It would be a popular appointment, but for now Benitez remains in place until his current contract ends this summer.
Chelsea remain third in the table and on course to fulfil Benitez's brief of Champions League football in 2013-14.
The Spaniard, unpopular due to his association with Liverpool, could achieve his target before departing.
Results have not gone Benitez's way - his Blues Premier League record is worse than that of Roberto Di Matteo, whom he replaced in November - but individual errors have been blamed, rather than poor performances.
Benitez argues he did not have a pre-season in which to get his methods across.
By the end of February things could appear brighter for Chelsea and Benitez.
Last season's Champions League winners, lest we forget, play Wigan and a two-legged Europa League tie with Sparta Prague either side of an FA Cup fourth-round replay with Brentford, before clashing with Premier League holders Manchester City away.
It is not inconceivable that Chelsea cut the gap to City and advance in the two knockout competitions before March.
Certainly striker Demba Ba, who suffered a nose injury on his return to Newcastle following his £7million move to Chelsea early last month, is targeting silverware - in this season and beyond.
He told Chelsea Magazine: "The first thing for me would be to win a trophy, because I haven't won any trophies so far. I would like to see how it feels to win a trophy.
"I want to win the league and the Champions League as well. They won it last season, so why not do it again in the coming seasons?"