Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson was dealt a blow to his defence as he told the media that Gary Cahill is injured following last week’s 1-1 draw against Brighton.
However, there was also positive news as he discussed fellow centre-back James Tomkins. The 31-year-old has been injured for the past several months but the club posted some images this week of him returning to training.
Hodgson discussed the former West Ham player and gave an indication as to when he may return to action for the Eagles.
James Tomkins nears a return to full fitness at Palace
Speaking via London News Online, the Palace manager said: “James is pretty much now where we want him to be. The only thing is that he hasn’t played a game since well before the lockdown, he didn’t play when we got started again and when we got locked down in March he was already injured, so I don’t know exactly when his last game was but I would guess it was in February.
“We’re just about to go into November so I’d like him, if possible, to get at least one U23 under his belt so he can say I’ve played in a competitive 11 v 11 game before I start throwing him back in.
“But he’s a player we admire, of course, and his talent has been proven so many times here at Crystal Palace that it’s great to see him out there every day now training, great to see him regaining his fitness.
“You never forget how to play football if you’ve been a good player like he is so it’s just a question of time.
“I would lie if I said tomorrow [Saturday] would be that moment to throw him in there quite simply because we do have very good options at centre-back even with Gary’s injury, we have very good options.”
How much of a positive is this for the club?
With the noticeable absence of Cahill, Hodgson will be happy to have the rest of his central defenders now available, with an abundance of options and decent cover.
Tomkins has had a very good career in south London, featuring 106 times and scoring eight goals along the way, (Transfermarkt). Of those 106 games, 99 have come in the Premier League, with 23 clean sheets and eight goals in top-flight action for the Eagles.
With these stats and Cahill’s injury taken into account, Tomkins’ impending is a huge positive for the Eagles, and both he and the club will crave a return to action sooner rather than later.
In other news, there has been plenty of reaction to one Palace player’s choice of shirt number. Have a read here!
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