RAFAEL Benitez admits he does not know if Josh McEachran will be eligible to play for Middlesbrough in their FA Cup fifth-round tie with Chelsea.
Boro will entertain Chelsea on Wednesday, February 27 after the reigning European champions cruised to a 4-0 win over Brentford in yesterday's fourth-round replay.
Should Tony Mowbray's side pull off a surprise result in nine days time, they could face an even tougher task in the quarter-finals after last night's draw offered up the possibility of a trip to Old Trafford.
The winners of the rearranged fifth-round tie between Middlesbrough and Chelsea were handed an away game at either Manchester United or Reading in the last eight, with the two Premier League sides facing each other in the fifth round tonight.
It was always likely that Boro would face Chelsea rather than Brentford next, although the Blues' failure to beat their League One opponents at the first time of asking meant the Teessiders were unable to play their fifth-round tie this weekend.
Instead, they will entertain Rafael Benitez's side a week on Wednesday, although the Chelsea boss admits he will have to check the terms of McEachran's loan deal to see if he can prevent the England under-21 international lining up against his permanent employers.
McEachran, who is on a season-long loan at the Riverside, has featured in all bar four of Boro's league games this season, although he is yet to make a single appearance in a cup competition.
“I don't know the rules, conditions or agreements,” said Benitez yesterday, when asked to clarify McEachran's position.
The Blues boss added: “We will try to win every game and we will see what happens. I don't think about one trophy or another, but the priority is to be in the top four (in the league) and if we progress in other competitions, then so much the better. We concentrate on one game at a time.”
Boro's most recent home game with Chelsea ended in a thumping 5-0 defeat in October 2008, and they have lost their last five matches against the Blues.
The two clubs have met on three previous occasions in the FA Cup, with Boro's only victory coming courtesy of goals from Tommy Wright and Willie Falconer in January 1993.
FA CUP QUARTER-FINAL DRAW:
Oldham or Everton vs Wigan
Man City vs Barnsley
Man United or Reading vs MIDDLESBROUGH or Chelsea
Millwall vs Blackburn
(Games to be played on the weekend of March 9-10)
* Tickets for Boro's fifth-round tie with Chelsea go on sale to season-card holders today. Tickets throughout the stadium for season-card holders will be priced £15 for adults and £5 for under-18s and over-65s. Tickets for all other supporters are priced £20 for adults and £10 for concessions.
Season-card holders have until 5pm on Thursday to book at a reduced price and secure their seat. Non season-card holders can purchase tickets from 9.30am on Friday.