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Transfer Rater: Benteke to Chelsea

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 By PA Sport

Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke ruled out for at least six weeks

Ian Darke weighs in on Crystal Palace's winless and goalless start to the Premier League season.

Crystal Palace will be without striker Christian Benteke for six weeks, manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed.

Benteke limped out of Palace's 5-0 defeat at Manchester City in the second half and the Belgium international now faces a prolonged spell on the sidelines.

Palace are without a goal or a point from six Premier League games and Hodgson said they were suffering "a plague of injuries."

He told a news conference: "Christian Benteke has medial ligament damage which will keep him out for a minimum of six weeks.

"We've been hit by a plague of injuries at a time when we could have done without it."

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Hodgson said winger Bacary Sako could fill in up front as he prepared his side for a trip to Manchester United on Saturday.

Sako was used in the role in the League Cup win over Huddersfield, and Hodgson said: "We were satisfied with his performance that day, and the fact he scored.

"To be brutally honest, it's not easy to find players who are out of work who are good enough to come into the Premier League and make us better."

Another contender to replace Benteke at Old Trafford is former Margate player Freddie Ladapo.

Ladapo joined Palace in 2016 but has yet to feature in a competitive fixture for the first team, but Hodgson said: "Freddie Ladapo has been training with the first team for quite a while now.

"He's an unknown quantity, for me certainly, because I haven't had the chance to see him in action at this sort of level.

"But in the current situation where we find ourselves, where we really don't have the cover or the back-up for Christian Benteke, the fact he's training every day and he's a centre forward puts him very much in the frame."

Asked whether free agent and former England striker Carlton Cole could move to Selhurst Park, Hodgson added: "He hasn't been mentioned."

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