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Palace given fitness boost for ´exceptional´ relegation scrap

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 15 Mar 2018

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Crystal Palace’s Premier League survival hopes have been boosted this week by the return to fitness of a number of key men for the clash with Huddersfield Town.

Star man Wilfried Zaha was back in action last Saturday as a substitute as Palace lost at Chelsea, and he has been joined on the training pitch by France international Yohan Cabaye and England midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Mamadou Sakho – on the bench at Stamford Bridge – is also in full training as Roy Hodgson prepares his side for an “exceptional” relegation battle.

“It’s been good to get players back from injury this week,” the manager told a pre-match news conference. “We’re looking at a fuller squad, if not a full squad. I’m very happy about that.

“Zaha, Sakho, Loftus-Cheek and Cabaye are all fit.

“This year is exceptional, isn’t it? Normally there’s at least three groups in the table, with the top six or seven, another six or seven and then the bottom teams. There’s not much between the bottom half this season.”

Palace were humbled 3-0 by Huddersfield on the opening day of the season but three of their defeats in a run of four straight losses have come by a single goal.

However, with his side still in the bottom three, Hodgson is not interested in taking pride from narrow defeats.

“We don’t talk about pride in performances after these defeats,” he said. “Where there are positives to be taken [we will discuss them].

“The players are fully aware of what they are capable of and they do not have a lot to fear going into any game.”

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