Gary Cahill a doubt for Palace’s trip to Burnley
Crystal Palace could be missing Gary Cahill as well as defender Joel Ward for Saturday’s Premier League fixture at Burnley.
Boss Roy Hodgson is definitely without full-back Ward due to a “serious knee injury” and could have another casualty ahead of the Clarets clash.
Ex-Chelsea defender Cahill trained on his own on Thursday and had an ice pack on his knee afterwards.
Palace will now assess the centre-back on Friday to decide whether he can rejoin the main group for training at Beckenham before they travel to Turf Moor.
Hodgson will hope Cahill is fit enough to play, but will definitely be missing Ward and does not expect him to feature again until 2020 after suffering the problem going in for a challenge with Liverpool’s Divock Origi.
“You know how doctors and medical staff are, they are reluctant to put a date because they are frightened you are going to come back after a period of time and demand the player returns,” Hodgson said.
“But it is a serious knee injury in the sense it will keep him off for a number of weeks rather than a number of days. I can’t tell you exactly what the timescale is, but it will be a considerable amount of time.”
In Ward’s absence, Martin Kelly – who worked with Hodgson at Liverpool – is likely to earn a recall and make his first start since October 5.
Once an England international, the 29-year-old is comfortable playing at the heart of defence or on the right, which is where he will line up this weekend.
“Kelly was a right-back by profession when I worked with him at Liverpool and when I took him to Euro 2012 it was as a right-back,” Hodgson added.
“It is a position he is certainly more than capable of playing and he can look forward now – all being well – that this is a position he can make his own until Joel Ward recovers from his injury and puts him under some pressure.
“Aaron Wan-Bissaka got into the team through an injury to Joel. Joel was the right-back, got injured and in came Wan-Bissaka and unfortunately Joel couldn’t get his place back.
“I’m now hoping Kelly will do very well and it will be a tough fight between Kelly and Ward, and possibly even another player if we were to sign one, to decide who will play in that right-back position.”