Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke fit to return after four-month injury lay-off
By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 11/01/19 3:20pm
Christian Benteke is fit to return to Crystal Palace's squad for their game against Watford on Saturday after four months out with injury.
The Belgium international has not played for the Eagles since September after suffering a knee injury that required surgery.
In his absence Palace have struggled for goals, having scored just 19 in 21 Premier League matches, making the 28-year-old's return a timely one.
Palace boss Roy Hodgson confirmed Benteke would be in the squad to play Watford at Selhurst Park, saying: "Yes he is. Obviously he's short of match practice and the sharpness you only get from playing games.
"It will be a risk putting him in the squad to some extent but he's come through the training sessions very well."
Despite Benteke's return, Hodgson did not rule out trying to sign another striker in the January transfer window, particularly following Alexander Sorloth's move to Gent.
However, the manager was keen to dispel Jermain Defoe's suggestion that Palace tried to sign him before he moved to Rangers earlier this month.
Hodgson said: "That's not true. We had no interest. I saw his name mentioned in relation to the club.
"But it's one thing people relating their players to our club, and another thing our club initiating moves to sign a player.
"I can state categorically we made no move at all to sign Jermain Defoe. I like Defoe - I've worked with him and think he's a good player.
"I'm pleased he's gone to Rangers but we were never one of the candidates for his signature."
Hodgson also provided strong support to goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, who is being investigated by the FA after a post on social media allegedly showed him making a 'Nazi salute' during a team night out.
Hennessey denies the allegation, claiming he "waved and shouted at the person taking the picture to get on with it and at the same time put my hand over my mouth to make the sound carry".
Hodgson said: "I believe him totally. I've no reason to disbelieve him. The other players had no awareness of anything inappropriate. They had no idea until the photo was posted that anything was happening.
"Wayne's explained it very satisfactorily to me and the club. I know Wayne and I know the type of man he is, and I have no hesitation whatsoever in backing him and his version of the story."