Daniel Sturridge will finally make his first Chelsea start since a July transfer from Manchester City in tonight's Carling Cup tie with Bolton.
The young striker has found his chances to impress limited by the outstanding form of first-choice forwards Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, and tonight's last-16 tie may prove his best chance yet to make an impression and justify his summer switch.
When Sturridge joined Chelsea from City in the summer he was convinced coach Carlo Ancelotti would help turn him into one of the best strikers in the world.
His confidence raised some eyebrows at the time considering the club's meagre record of bringing through young talent and the last three months have served as a reality check.
So far he has played a total of 31 minutes in three matches as a substitute, which is in stark contrast to the 12 appearances, including four starts, he had made for City at the same stage last year.
The main reason he turned down a new contract at Eastlands and moved to the capital was that he feared there would be no room for him in Mark Hughes's side due to the signings of Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz.
However, it could be argued he would have played more if he had stayed where he was rather than watching Drogba and Anelka terrorise defences from the sidelines.
Progress? Sturridge had made 12 appearances at Eastlands this time last year
The 20-year-old striker insisted he was prepared to be patient in his first press conference back in July, yet even he has been surprised by what has happened since.
When asked if he thought it was going to be this tough, he admitted to Chelsea TV: 'No, I wouldn't really say so. I want to be more involved than I am, but it's early days in the Premier League, early days in every competition and there are a lot more games to come. Hopefully, I will be playing a few more games in the first team.
'But if the team is winning, obviously it is very hard to change it. I do get upset at times because I do want to get involved. I'm a young player and want to play as many games as I can, but at the end of the day I have to wait for my chance at a club like this.'
Debut to remember: Sturridge scored in Carlo Ancelotti's first game in charge
Sturridge looked good on the club's pre-season tour to the USA and scored in Ancelotti's first game in charge with a fine finish in the 2-0 victory against Seattle Sounders.
The suggestion behind the scenes is that he still has a lot to learn and that his confidence currently outweighs his all-round ability.
Assistant first team manager Ray Wilkins said: 'We have a lot of hard work to do with Daniel, but I'm sure he will be some player for Chelsea at some stage.'
Ashley Cole, John Obi Mikel and Yuri Zhirkov are all injured for tonight's clash, while Ancelotti intends to rest a host of first team regulars, including Frank Lampard and skipper John Terry.
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