Many feared that Pape Souare would never play competitively again following his horrific car crash at the start of the 2016/17 season but yesterday, the defender ignited fresh hope of a possible return to full fitness.
Having begun the current campaign with Souare as our only out-and-out left-back, the news of his car crash came as a devastating blow to the club on both an emotional and professional level, leaving us scrambling for cover until the January transfer window opened.
Whilst the likes of Joel Ward and Martin Kelly have filled in for him when called upon, neither have ever looked truly comfortable in the role, leading Sam Allardyce to bring in Jeffrey Schlupp whilst also chasing the likes of Van Aanholt and Patrice Evra to plug the gap. Indeed, certain noises had emerged from inside the club to suggest that Pape may never kick a ball competitively again but these latest images appear to dispel any immediate fears of his retirement from the game.
It is always easy to allow nostalgia to overtake pragmatism in situations such as Pape’s and in truth, a number of our supporters have probably overestimated the attributes he brought to the side in the aftermath of his accident but the way in which we have all rallied around him in recent months has been fantastic to see.
Whilst the cynics amongst you will understandably suggest that little to no loyalty exists in the modern game, the way Pape has interacted with our fans of late via his Twitter account smacks of a man who is genuinely overwhelmed by the backing he’s being given from our fan-base.
Should he ever make it back onto the pitch in a Palace strip, it’ll be a pretty emotional occasion, although these latest images certainly seem to point towards it being a far more realistic aim than first thought. Our fingers are crossed for him.