Chelsea’s Lauren James a doubt for Barcelona clash as Emma Hayes refuses to comment on injury

Chelsea forward Lauren James is a doubt for Saturday’s Women’s Champions League semi-final against Barcelona after Emma Hayes confirmed she missed Wednesday’s win over Aston Villa due to injury.

Hayes said James had not trained this week but refused to reveal any further details after the 22-year-old was absent from the Chelsea squad after playing the whole of Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester United.

Chelsea travel to Barcelona on Friday ahead of the first leg of their Champions League semi-final clash against the holders, with the return leg taking place at Stamford Bridge the following week.

England international James is Chelsea’s top scorer in all competitions this season and is central to their hopes of winning a first Champions League title, with striker Sam Kerr ruled out for the rest of the season with an ACL injury.

Chelsea cruised to a 3-0 win over Aston Villa to return to the top of the WSL table on goal difference after visiting goalkeeper Anna Leat was sent off just four minutes into the game at Kingsmeadow.

Hayes made several changes to her side ahead of the Barcelona trip but said James was unavailable as she was “injured”.

When asked for further details, Hayes responded: “I’ve already stated she has an injury. I’m not here to discuss the situation.

“I’m not commenting on anything. I haven’t seen her. She hasn’t been with the team today. She came in. She wasn’t training yesterday. I won’t see her tomorrow.

“I don’t know what state she’ll be in on Friday but I will get a call usually from my medical team the following day to give me an update on anybody who hasn’t been available for selection.”

Chelsea were beaten by Barcelona in the last season’s semi-finals following a 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge and a 1-1 draw at the Nou Camp. James didn’t start either leg but came off the bench in both ties as Barcelona advanced to the final on aggregate.