Crystal Palace are set to be without the services of central defender Damien Delaney for at least a few weeks after Eagles boss Roy Hodgson revealed that the Irishman is in need of an operation.
The 36-year-old has been a part of the Palace squad since 2012 but in recent years he’s found first-team appearances harder and harder to come by, playing just once in the Premier League so far this term, when both Scott Dann and James Tomkins were injured for our trip to face Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United at Old Trafford.
In truth, I struggle to envisage a scenario in which Delaney ever regains a regular place in the Palace starting XI, regardless of how he recovers from this recent setback. Whilst he’s undoubtedly been a great servant to the club, it’s just not feasible to continue relying on a player of his age beyond the current campaign, particularly when you consider the pace and power of the strikers he’d be forced to deal with on a weekly basis.
With Mamadou Sakho now at the club permanently, few if any would argue with the Frenchman’s inclusion on the team-sheet whenever he’s fit to play, leaving Dann and Tomkins to battle it out for the other starting spot next to him. If, as was the case against West Brom last weekend, both of the aforementioned pair are unable to play, Martin Kelly is there to step in but with the January transfer window now looming large on the horizon, I wouldn’t bet against Roy looking for another defender to aid his selection process.
According to Transfermarkt.co.uk, Damo’s current contract will run until the end of the 2017/18 season, at which point you would assume he’ll be released. If that does prove to be the case, he’ll leave with the reputation of a cult hero in my mind. His effort and emotion upon winning promotion back in 2013, coupled with individual displays like the one he put in against Chelsea and Diego Costa in 2015 will always make me think fondly of him in red and blue.
Fingers crossed his recovery from the operation isn’t a complicated one.