Chelsea can take another stride towards the title this weekend when Stoke visit Stamford Bridge.

Mark Hughes will get a warm welcome, as fans of a certain age remember the robust way he added muscle and brawn to the Blues’ attacks in the late 1990s, forging a Little and Large partnership with the effervescent imp Gianfranco Zola.

The trouble is, he now encourages his own squad to be more Hughes than Zola.

A fleet of ambulances will be on standby to ferry the casualties to Chelsea & Westminster Hospital.

Despite Gary Cahill’s improving form, Jose Mourinho is planning to give another start to one of the revelations of his current squad, Kurt Zouma.

The 20-year-old defender/midfielder came on as sub at the end of France’s 2-0 win against Denmark, to win his first senior cap, and Mourinho is keen to propel him forward as an eventual replacement for John Terry – who has signed up for another season.

Mourinho also wants to reward Loic Remy’s loyalty (despite the lack of playing time) by playing him up front, to give Diego Costa a bit more recovery time for his tweaked hamstring ahead of games against the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool in the coming weeks.

The Stoke match is one of the few games before the end of what should be a double-silverware season for Chelsea for anyone to shell out for a one-off ticket to see the potential champions in action.

Stoke’s supporters, resigned to finishing in the middle of the table, with nothing realistically to play for, have failed to take up half of their away ticket allocation at the Bridge.

It means that several thousand extra tickets have gone on sale this week, to fill gaps in the zone between the East and Shed stands.

The manager’s only concern is a repeat of the brief spell of complacency which allowed Hull City to give the Blues a scare in their last fixture.