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First Team

Zaha & Tomkins in Contention; Benteke Ruled Out v Huddersfield

13 September 2018

Roy Hodgson has confirmed that Wilfried Zaha and James Tomkins trained today, and are in contention to play a part in Saturday's match away at Huddersfield Town.

Having missed Palace's previous Premier League match against Southampton, Hodgson was keen to stress that Zaha and Tomkins will be monitored tomorrow to gauge their reaction to their return to training, and there will be consultation with the medical department before the squad depart.

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Speaking in his pre-match press conference, he confirmed: “It was his first training session today; it was debatable as to whether he should train or not but he was anxious to try, and it was the same with James Tomkins so it was really good to see them back out with us again.

“We’ll have to wait and see how they react to tomorrow’s training session to see if they will be available. If we listen to our medical department, both are coming back as early, if not earlier, than should have been expected.”

The boss also confirmed Aaron Wan-Bissaka is fully fit following his England under-21 debut last week, but it's bad news for Christian Benteke who has a "niggly knee injury".

Speaking about the Belgian striker, the Palace boss revealed: “Christian has had a niggling knee injury for some while now which kept him out for a short while during pre-season when he felt he had to miss some time training in Sweden.

"That’s still an ongoing issue and while it’s being dealt with, we’ll have to wait and see when he will be available - there’s no timescale on that.”

That leaves Scott Dann and Connor Wickham sidelined, and while the defender is back in training, Hodgson believes Wickham is making progress having not been featured for the first-team since November 2016.

"He's still not training with the team and hasn't done for over a month so I haven't seen much of him, but there's some talk he might be returning to training in a week or two's time, so we'll see how that goes."

Hodgson also feels that two of his summer signings are now pushing for starts, adding: “Both Max Meyer and Cheikhou Kouyaté are players that we have brought in, as well as Jordan Ayew who made his first-team debut from the start against Southampton, and we have been very happy with all three of them.

"Max and Cheik are in my opinion ready at any moment to go in, but up to now the other players who have kept them out have done a good job so the competition is very healthy. Everyone knows that the positions are contested now, and if you want to keep your place in the team then you have to perform every week.”

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