New Palace boss Roy Hodgson has revealed that Ruben Loftus-Cheek and James Tomkins are back in contention for Saturday’s game with Southampton.
The on-loan Chelsea midfielder has been out of action since picking up a groin injury ahead of the Swansea City game last month, but after narrowly missing out on selection last weekend against Burnley he is expected to play some part against the Saints.
Tomkins also hurt his groin in the game against the Swans, but is back available again in what is a pair of early boosts for Hodgson, who could have two more on the horizon with long-term casualties Mamadou Sakho and Pape Souare coming through unscathed for the under-23s on Monday.
Speaking about his possible team selection for the visit of Manuel Pellegrino’s team, the new boss said: “Tomkins is now fit, as is Ruben Loftus-Cheek so it’s good to have those two back. Wilfried Zaha needs a little bit more rehabilitation time after his injury, but Mamadou Sakho is training every day and looking good.
“He obviously hasn’t played any competitive football for five or six months so we’re working hard on his physical fitness, and it’s the same with Pape Souare. It’s an incredible comeback and it’s wonderful what he’s been able to do in training. I don’t see any physical signs of injury, but with him it’s a question of perhaps easing him back into the team and competitive football.”
Hodgson will take his seat in the home dugout at Selhurst Park for the first time on Saturday, despite only overseeing a couple of full training session with his new players. Having caught up with some of the Eagles’ recent performances, he admits that he won’t make wholesale changes despite Palace eyeing their first league win of the season at the fifth attempt.
“I have stuck with what I have already seen and can analyse,” he said in his first press conference as Palace boss. “I’ve got a game on Tuesday too which could be useful as it’ll give me a chance to look at one or two other players, and then hopefully going forward after the games in Manchester ahead of the Chelsea game, I’ll be in a better position.
“I certainly get the feeling that there is no doubt in the players’ minds about the importance of this game, and how much it would be a good one to win. It’s now down to the 11 players that have been selected to show that on the field of play.”
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