Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson says Wilfried Zaha is fit to return against Chelsea
By Conor Creamer
Last Updated: 13/10/17 4:01pm
Roy Hodgson has confirmed Wilfried Zaha will return for Crystal Palace against Chelsea this weekend, but has urged fans to give the forward time.
Zaha has not featured for Crystal Palace since their opening day-defeat to newly-promoted Huddersfield, where he was pictured leaving Selhurst Park in a knee brace.
The 24-year old, who scored seven goals in 37 appearances for Palace last season, has been forced to watch from the sidelines as his side slipped to the bottom of the Premier League table after seven defeats without scoring a goal.
However, Hodgson confirmed on Friday that Zaha is fit to return for the arrival of reigning champions Chelsea this weekend.
"He's trained now for two weeks so the international break has been very good for us in that respect," said Hodgson.
"He trained from the Monday and ever since so there's no reason why I shouldn't consider him tomorrow.
"He's a good player and also someone in the past who has made some very important moves and done some very important things for Crystal Palace so I think all the fans will be pleased to see him back on the field."
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Despite Zaha's return, Hodgson has urged Eagles fans to be patient as the Ivory Coast-international settles back into first-team football.
"I would rather urge people to give him certainly the benefit of the doubt in the first game or two he plays back because he's been out for over six weeks and he did ever so well to come back that quickly from the injury," he added.
"To expect him to maybe be in the form he was in before the injury is going to be a tough ask but who knows? He's been good in training."
The south London side could also be without goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey who picked up a knock on duty for Wales last Monday, meaning a start could be handed to veteran stopper Julian Speroni.
"Wayne picked up a very nasty knock in the very last moment of the [Wales] game. It was the last kick of the game and unfortunately it landed on his calf and injured him," said Hodgson.
"We've been treating that injury ever since he returned from Wales and he's going to have a fitness test tomorrow morning. Until that moment I couldn't tell you if he could play or not."
Elsewhere, on-loan midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek is unavailable against his parent club, while there is no further update on Christian Benteke's return following ligament damage against Manchester United.