December 9 2013 Latest news:
By Nick Wright
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Crystal Palace have been boosted by news that defender Damien Delaney’s ankle injury is not as bad as first feared, while midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi is set to go straight into the Eagles’ starting line-up for Saturday’s clash against Southampton.
Manager Ian Holloway has also revealed that defender Joel Ward is fit to face the Saints, while Yannick Bolasie and long-term absentee Paddy McCarthy are closing in on match fitness.
Defender Delaney was withdrawn at half time in Palace’s 2-0 defeat to Swansea on Saturday, and despite fears that the Irishman could face a long spell on the sidelines, Palace are hopeful that he will be fit to face Liverpool next week.
Holloway said: “It’s a bit of a strange one. He’s got quite a nasty injury, but I’ve talked to my physio and he’s got half a chance for the Liverpool game.
“He has had something like that before and recovered with it really quickly, so we’re going to try and push it and see how it goes.
“We won’t risk him as it’s quite a complicated injury, a couple of ligaments in his ankle. But he normally recovers really well.
“He had an awful lot of swelling,” he added. “When you looked at the size of it, oh dear me, it was not a nice looking ankle. But I’m a lot more encouraged than I felt on Monday.”
Delaney’s withdrawal against Swansea forced skipper Mile Jedinak to drop into the back four, but the return of right-back Ward eases Holloway’s concerns for Southampton.
“I’ve got Joel Ward back, he’s trained fully,” he said. “He’ll probably go back in and I can move Adrian Mariappa inside.”
The return of McCarthy could also bolster Palace’s defence in the coming weeks. The 30-year-old missed the entirety of last season with a groin injury, but Holloway sees light at the end of the tunnel.
“He is getting there but he’s not quite ready yet,” said the Palace boss. “He has had a couple of false dawns but hopefully he’ll give us experience and come in very quickly.”
Winger Bolasie has also nursed a hamstring problem this season, but Holloway has been impressed with how he’s performing in training.
“He’s had a full week’s training,” he said. “We’ll try and get him in a game next week and then he might be pushing for a [first team] place. He looks absolutely fantastic at the moment.
“We’ve all missed him because he’s a wonderful player, so I’m delighted to get him back.
“[Jimmy] Kebe and [Jerome] Thomas are knocking on the door too.”
Dikgacoi will return at St Mary’s after missing the Swansea clash following his red card against Mancehster United, and Holloway admits his side missed the South African’s presence alongside Jedinak in midfield against Swansea.
“If I put Jedinak next to KG that’s the huge barrier that makes my back four feel safe,” he said.
“It’s the understanding that him and Jedinak have got, it’s really difficult to replace that.
“When he went away for the African Cup of Nations last year, we struggled to win without him.
“It’s just getting that understanding in a certain area that will buy us some time to let the talent we’ve added shine through.”