Christian Benteke to miss at least six weeks for Crystal Palace, says Roy Hodgson
By James Dale
Last Updated: 29/09/17 1:59pm
Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke will be out for at least six weeks due to ligament damage, Roy Hodgson has confirmed.
Wilfried Zaha is not ready to return to face Manchester United on Saturday following a knee injury, while on-loan Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek will also miss the game due to a thigh strain.
Hodgson said Benteke's injury is similar to the problem which has kept Zaha out for six weeks, and while the Ivory Coast winger is hoped to be back training next week, Benteke faces a longer stretch on the sidelines.
"He's [Benteke] got ligament damage which will keep him out for a minimum of six weeks," Hodgson said on Friday. "We don't think he'll be able to train for six weeks."
Benteke's injury leaves Palace without any experienced first-team strikers, with Connor Wickham still in rehabilitation following his knee injury and Freddie Ladapo, 24, yet to make a Premier League appearance for Palace.
Free agent Carlton Cole has been reported as a possible solution to Palace's injury crisis up front, but the former Chelsea and West Ham striker is not on Hodgson's radar, with the Eagles manager admitting the club have few options to turn to.
"To be brutally honest it's not going to be easy to find players to come into the Premier League and make us a better team who are out of work," said Hodgson.
"We're not the only club with an eye to anyone who may be available, who may be willing to come and work on a short-term contract.
"Let's be fair, if we're going to be better as a football team, it's going to be a big ask for someone who hasn't got a club and is out of work.
"Technical director Dougie Freedman is working hard to try and turn over every particular stone, whether he has spoken or thought of Carlton Cole - I can't answer. I doubt it, because I think he would have mentioned it to me."
Palace's trip to Old Trafford comes off the back of a 5-0 defeat by Manchester City last weekend, with the club still without a point in the Premier League this season.
United travelled to Russia midweek to face CSKA Moscow in the Champions League, but Hodgson believes the long trip will have little impact on the options at Jose Mourinho's disposal.
"There's never a good time to play Manchester United and there's always a good time to play Manchester United," Hodgson added. "We are in the league to obviously play against the big teams.
"Jose will say it's not ideal to be playing on a Saturday after travelling from Russia but they do have a very strong team, strong squad, certainly on paper they are stronger than we are.
"But it's not played on paper and hope any good luck going around goes our way."
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