Crystal Palace have been forced to endure a true injury crisis in recent weeks but following their narrow loss to Chelsea on Saturday evening, manager Roy Hodgson revealed that the club are expecting four bonafide first-team regulars back in full training for the whole of next week.
RH: We should have Yohan, Mama, Ruben and Wilf in for a full week of training ahead of Huddersfield, which is a huge boost. pic.twitter.com/pzSam9lHJY
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) March 10, 2018
Having reintroduced Wilfried Zaha to the side for the second half of last weekend’s game at Stamford Bridge, we appear to have the winger fully fit and ready to fight for the entirety of the run-in, where he will be joined by the likes of Mamadou Sakho, Yohan Cabaye and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
With Sakho having been named on the bench for yesterday’s game against the Blues it looks as though he’s extremely close to making the starting XI once again, although after a lack of clarity from the club over the exact reason for his absence, it’s difficult to know how another full week of training will impact upon his physical or mental state.
Luckily for us, Cabaye’s absence hasn’t been felt quite as severely thanks to the presence of James McArthur and Luka Milivojevic in the centre of the park but even so, the return of the Frenchman to the first-team fold is extremely welcome from my perspective. With Jairo Riedewald now seemingly in Roy Hodgson’s good books, we have four capable central midfielders battling it out for two spaces if our formation remains the same as it has been of late in the coming weeks.
Alongside them, we can now hold out hope of Ruben Loftus-Cheek recapturing the sort of form which had him being spoken about as a possible dark horse to make it into the England squad for this summer’s World Cup in Russia. Supposedly fully fit after a prolonged period of rehab back at Chelsea’s Cobham base, Hodgson and his fellow coaches will be desperate to see the youngster add some extra bite to our attacking play between now and May.
Hypothetically, the return of four top quality operators coinciding with a run of fixtures against sides battling it out with us in the bottom half of the table should bode well but as a Palace fan, you soon learn never to count your chickens before they’ve hatched.
For now, we can only sit and hope.