Crystal Palace went into Sunday’s game against Tottenham with twelve injured players and came out of it worried that they’d lost a thirteenth in the shape of James Tomkins but shortly after the final whistle, Roy Hodgson revealed that he expects to have three defenders back for the visit of Manchester United next Monday.
Whilst Tomkins went down in pain during the last 10 minutes and was taken off as a direct consequence a few minutes later, the gaffer claimed during his post-match press conference that the former West Ham man had just been suffering with severe cramp and could be expected to make a full recovery in time for the Red Devil’s arrival in SE25 just over a week later.
There was also positive news regarding Martin Kelly, who began taking part in full training yesterday after injuring himself at home to Newcastle a few weeks ago. Of course, you can never be sure that a player is completely over an issue until he starts taking part in full first-team drills but with a full week to prepare ahead of the game against Jose Mourinho’s boys, I’m sure Martin will back himself to be up to speed.
There was also a line on Mamadou Sakho, whose injury issue appears to be far more troublesome than the medical staff first feared. Whilst they have already given the Frenchman the all-clear to make a comeback, it is the man himself who has said no to being selected against both Everton and Spurs, leaving Roy Hodgson in a state of limbo as to how long he can expect to wait for the centre-back to return to the fold.
The gaffer’s uncertainty over Mama’s situation is expressed within the comment he gave to the press, leaving us all crossing our fingers in the hope of Sakho himself coming round to the idea of taking part in front of the Sky cameras in six days time.
With loanee defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah unable to take part given the terms of our agreement with United, we’ll need all the help we can get on the night. After a solid display against Tottenham, I’d have no qualms with Aaron Wan-Bissaka being given the nod to start at right-back once again, leaving one of Kelly or Sakho to partner Tomkins at the heart of the back four dependant on their respective match fitness. There is of course the possibility of Damien Delaney filling in if neither are available but I’d rather not even entertain that thought unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Any further updates will be published as soon as possible on HLTCO.