Roy Hodgson has confirmed Crystal Palace will be without Gary Cahill as they play host to Premier League strugglers Sheffield United at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon.
Speaking ahead of this afternoon’s game, he told reporters, via football.london: “Gary Cahill is still suffering from the slight hamstring problem he picked up 10 days or so ago, but apart from that there’s nothing else to report other than long term injuries which have been well documented by now.”
Cahill has not featured since he suffered a knock during the 7-0 drubbing at the hands of champions Liverpool. This isn’t the first time the former Chelsea defender has had to face adversity, as he has battled his fair share of injury problems over the past couple of years and was forced to miss the start of this season due to injury.
As the 35-year-old centre-back has started all five of his appearances in the Premier League this season – including the 5-1 win away at West Brom – the timing couldn’t be worse for the Eagles manager with games coming thick and fast over the next few weeks and months.
Cahill’s absence plays havoc with Hodgson’s already depleted selection options, as he joins a growing list of casualties that also includes new summer recruit Nathan Ferguson, Connor Wickham, Martin Kelly and Wayne Hennessey.
Hodgson’s side have so far failed to keep a clean sheet since the 1-0 win over Southampton at the start of the season and the Palace boss will be expected to take the opportunity to rotate his squad as he seeks to stop the rot from spreading further.
It seems the centre-back pairing is certainly up for grabs as Hodgson has switched between Cahill, Cheikhou Kouyate, Scott Dann, James Tomkins and to some extent Mamadou Sakho this season so far.
Ever the consummate professional, Cahill has established himself as an integral part of Hodgson’s side during his time at Selhurst Park, making over 30 appearances for Palace across all competitions so far, via Transfermarkt. When he’s fully fit and firing on all cylinders, he should slot into place alongside any one of the aforementioned quartet at the heart of the defence.
After all, the seasoned veteran has seen it all before in the beautiful game, having experienced the highs of the Champions League with Chelsea to the lows of the Football League.
Therefore, there’s no doubt it’s a bitter blow for Hodgson not to be able to call upon the services of the vice-captain as Palace prepare to take on Chris Wilder’s side this afternoon.
AND in other news, Crystal Palace can sign their next Wilfried Zaha in Rabbi Matondo…