Martin Kelly was forced to limp off with a hamstring injury in Crystal Palace’s last Premier League game against Newcastle but the former Liverpool man is likely to return to the fold rather quicker than first expected.
Given the lengthy lay-offs suffered by countless members of the Palace first-team in recent weeks, Roy Hodgson and co. could have been forgiven for fearing the worst when they saw Kelly hit the turf against the Magpies but with a two-week break on the horizon immediately after this weekend’s trip to take on Everton at Goodison Park, there appears to be a feasible chance of Martin making it back in time to face Tottenham in our next fixture.
With Mamadou Sakho and Joel Ward having now returned to full match fitness, there isn’t quite the same pressing need for Kelly’s services as there was a couple of weeks ago but even so, the prospect of having him available for selection against Pochettino’s Champions League chasers would be a real bonus to the Palace coaching staff.
Whilst Martin was never likely to get into the side ahead of Dann, Sakho or Tomkins when all three were fit and vying for a starting spot, his performances alongside the latter at the heart of our defence in recent weeks have been mightily impressive, proving that when the pressure is on, he’s more than ready to step up to the mark.
Capable of operating as both a centre-back and a right-back, Martin is the sort of player Roy Hodgson loves, both in terms of versatility and commitment to the collective cause. Whilst he would be the first to admit that he’s not the most talented ball playing defender you’ll ever see, he does have all the tools necessary to function as a competent and combative Premier League defender, which in our current predicament, makes him worth his weight in gold.
Should we ever reach a point where we have Dann, Sakho, Tomkins, Kelly, Jach and Delaney all fit and raring to go, Roy Hodgson may start to feel comfortable about the back four but for now, it’s a case of fielding those from the above list that are able to run without any pain.
The life of a football manager is seldom stress free, that’s for sure.