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Pep - Dean's absence gives someone else an opportunity

Jake Clarke-Salter is likely to step in against Fulham on Saturday.
Jake Clarke-Salter is likely to step in against Fulham on Saturday.

Jake is the one who is closest to it because he featured for us in that position against Wigan.

Pep Clotet.

Pep Clotet has urged whoever replaces Harlee Dean against Fulham to grasp their opportunity.

The Blues captain will sit out tomorrow's fixture against The Cottagers as he begins a three-match suspension after his late sending off against Cardiff City last weekend.

Although Blues boss Clotet hasn't confirmed 100 per cent that Jake Clarke-Salter will step in, he has given a strong indication that the 22-year-old Chelsea loanee will get the nod.

And should that be the case, he has no qualms about his suitability for the role.

"I've considered all the options that we have here, and I will decide on Friday," said Clotet.

"Jake is the one who is closest to it because he featured for us in that position against Wigan.

"Jake is quick and a smart player and he has a wonderful left foot.

"He has experience playing in the highest league in Holland as well, so he's used to competition and he has character.

"He's still young but he's played a lot of matches, both for his country and for his former club."

Since making the season-long switch to the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium Clarke-Salter has been forced to bide his time because of the partnership of Dean and Marc Roberts in the heart of the defence.

He has made just two appearances - one in the EFL Cup against Portsmouth in early August and one Sky Bet Championship fixture which came against The Latics at the start of October.

"He's managed himself very well, very professionally and he's very focused," added Clotet.

"I've been honest with him and explained the situation.

"Every time he's come to see me we've always had a very good talk and he always understood that his way is to be ready and if that situation comes to him on Saturday, I'm sure that he will do everything in his power to do very well.

"We have very good communication not only with him but with Chelsea.

"Tore Andre Flo (a member of Chelsea's coaching staff) has come here twice and he knows how the team plays.

"We had a couple of meetings with him and explained the situation, so Chelsea know what we're doing, and we show them all the work we're doing as well to help the player to be better."

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