Crystal Palace giving Wilfried Zaha every chance to play vs. Liverpool
Crystal Palace will give Wilfried Zaha as long as possible to prove his fitness before manager Roy Hodgson names his team to face Liverpool at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
Zaha remains a significant doubt having not trained during the international break in an attempt to rest his knee following his recent return from injured ligaments.
Palace are still to secure a point in the Premier League in his absence, and Hodgson is desperate for the 25-year-old to be passed fit.
"You don't give your top players deadlines," Hodgson said. "It's very simple. I want him to play the seven [remaining league] games, I really do, there's no question of that.
"There's no way... If he and the doctors say he's OK to play, then he'll play. It will just be a question of how he responds and having that conversation.
"Do I and the medical staff believe he's fit enough to play and his knee is not going to be a problem?
"Then's there a further question. This is one of seven games, and what are the risks for the following six games if you play this one? Should the player have more treatment, bearing in mind if he injured himself, he could miss the remaining six?"
James Tomkins and Alexander Sorloth also face late fitness tests, at a time when Scott Dann, Joel Ward, Bakary Sako and Jason Puncheon have already been ruled out.
Saturday's game against Liverpool represents the end of a difficult run, and comes before Palace take on Bournemouth, Brighton, Watford and Leicester in a period that is expected to determine whether they stay up.
The return to fitness of Yohan Cabaye has been a positive development in a season in which Hodgson's options have regularly been undermined by injury.
The France midfielder remains in negotiations to extend his contract, which expires this summer, and his manager said: "If you watch him play and train, I certainly don't get any vibes he's not 100 percent committed and anything other than happy.
"It's better to leave certain things to the people who deal with them in those areas. I don't want my relationship with Yohan to be in any way changed by the fact there's some contract discussions going on.
"He knows that I'm happy to leave that to him. I trust him to do what needs to be done, I trust Dougie Freedman (Palace's sporting director) to do that, which enables he and I to have a player-coach relationship that's untainted by anything that might be going on elsewhere."