It’s been somewhat lost in the stories surrounding Wilfried Zaha since Saturday’s game against Newcastle finished but Palace defender James Tomkins might well have played his last game of the 2018/19 campaign.
The former West Ham man has been a rock at the back for the Eagles this season and was doing a fantastic job of holding down the fort in Mamadou Sakho’s absence in recent weeks but midway through the game at St James’ Park last weekend, he immediately signalled to a groin injury which looked more than capable of being a season-ender.
Having started in central defence alongside Martin Kelly on the way, Tomkins was replaced by Scott Dann and whilst the remaining duo managed to see out a clean sheet in the North East, most will be worried about how Roy Hodgson’s men will cope without either of their first-choice central defenders.
Thankfully, Saturday’s victory looks to have taken us well beyond any worries of falling through the Premier League trapdoor in May but even so, many have seen hopes of kicking on and securing a place in the top half dealt a significant blow by Tomkins’ setback.
It’s testament to James that he has established himself so clearly ahead of the likes of Martin Kelly since swapping east London for south. I’ll readily admit to being shocked at West Ham having parted with him so easily back in 2016, with their loss definitely having been our gain.
Fingers crossed Tonks returns before the players jet off on their summer holidays but if the sight of him hobbling off in Newcastle last Saturday are anything to go by, I wouldn’t hold your breath.