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Hodgson optimistic Benteke could return early next month

Hodgson optimistic Benteke could return early next month
© Reuters
The Belgium striker had knee surgery in October.

Roy Hodgson hopes Christian Benteke will be back in action for Crystal Palace early in the new year.

The Belgium striker, who has made just four appearances this season, underwent knee surgery in October.

The 28-year-old is making encouraging progress and, while a Christmas return has been ruled out, a January return is on the cards.

Manager Hodgson said: "I think the medical and sports science people always told me I wouldn't be able to count on him until the end of December, beginning of January. That's where he is.

"He was a week ahead of schedule and we were hoping we would be back in training with the team next week, but that's been put back.

"I think it will probably now be after the FA Cup tie but the good thing is he is working hard and he is absolutely determined to get back on that field of play and score the goals that he was brought to the club to score.

"His attitude has been excellent in his recovery and we're looking forward to seeing him again. We don't think it will be too long."

Palace have three games before facing Sky Bet League Two club Grimsby in the FA Cup third round on January 5, starting with a Boxing Day clash against Cardiff at Selhurst Park.

They will go into that game high on confidence after a surprise win at champions Manchester City and Hodgson wants to see the same attitude that succeeded at the Etihad Stadium being maintained.

The former England boss said: "We know it is going to be a difficult game. If we are really going to take advantage of these three – you could call them bonus points (at City) because not many people expected us to get them – we have to get a result against Cardiff.

"If we were to lose that game at home all we've done really is swap the games around. I've made that clear to the players and I fully trust them to take that message on board."

Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate are expected to be available for Palace after injury.


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Andros Townsend celebrates putting Crystal Palace in front against Manchester City in their Premier League clash on December 22, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool34267177205785
2Manchester CityMan City33272486226483
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs332211064343067
4Arsenal33206766402666
5Chelsea34206857362166
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd33197763441964
7Leicester CityLeicester34145154645147
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves33138124142-147
9Everton34137144644246
10Watford33137134748-146
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham34126164252-1042
12Bournemouth34125174961-1241
13Crystal Palace34116174046-639
14Burnley34116174260-1839
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle34108163243-1138
16Southampton3399153954-1536
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3396183253-2133
18Cardiff CityCardiff3494213063-3331
RFulham3455243276-4420
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3435261967-4814

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