Benteke in doubt for Palace's trip to Bournemouth

Roy Hodgson could be without a senior centre-forward this weekend as he attempts to halt Crystal Palace's slide toward the bottom three.

Published : Apr 05, 2018 20:22 IST

Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke looks likely to miss Saturday's crunch clash with Bournemouth after sustaining a groin injury in training on Thursday.

The much-maligned 27-year-old faces a race against time to be fit for the visit to Vitality Stadium, where the Eagles will be attempting to turn around a worrying run of five losses in six.

Benteke's potential absence comes at an inopportune time for Hodgson, who is already without fellow centre-forward Alexander Sorloth due to a hamstring problem.

The former England manager believes he has been cursed with worse luck at Selhurst Park than in three of his previous Premier League appointments combined.

"Benteke limped off from training with a groin injury and we will have to wait to see how he progresses overnight and we will check [Friday] morning on his fitness," Hodgson said.

"I have just spoken to the doctor to ask how he rates his chances of being fit and he said he would rather not say at this stage, so if he is not prepared to do that then I am certainly not in a position to either.

"No one new is back, so the squad will be thinner if he doesn't make it.

"I could combine my Premier League experiences at Fulham, West Brom and Liverpool together and still not have had as many injuries as I've had here."

Palace have, however, been boosted by the recent return to fitness of Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

The midfielder has featured twice off the bench since recovering from a lengthy ankle injury as he looks to stake a claim for a spot in England's World Cup squad.

"We have been happy to have him back and we are hoping his return to the fold will help us to try and survive in the league," Hodgson said.

"We are hoping he will reach the level he was at before the injury and that he gets that honour [of being in the World Cup squad], but I am not pushing players towards Gareth Southgate."

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