Hodgson weighs up Zaha return

08 March 2018 10:00:25 EST

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson admits he has a tricky balancing act to perform over when to reintroduce Wilfried Zaha back into the first-team fold.

A knee problem sustained in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United has kept Ivory Coast forward Zaha on the sidelines for just over a month, but he is making quicker than expected progress in his recovery and has returned to training with the team this week.

He's well ahead of schedule, but it was a serious injury.

Roy Hodgson

However, Hodgson said ahead of a Saturday Premier League clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge that he would be careful about when to bring Zaha back into the fold, even with the Eagles battling to avoid relegation.

He told reporters: "Wilf's had a ball at his feet for a while, training solo with the rehab people and the physios.

"He joined in with the team today (Thursday) in an albeit modified session. He's well ahead of schedule, but it was a serious injury and it's a remarkable recovery.

"It will be a case of discussing with him, the doctor and the physios regarding when he's ready to come back. It's a major positive.

"All teams rely upon their decisive players, so when you have a player out for any length of time there's always a risk you'll push for him to come back earlier than he should.

"That's the balance I've got to get right."

Palace are currently available at 1000/1 to be relegated this season, with Southampton priced at 100/1 and West Ham 12121/1.

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