In the latest Crystal Palace news, defender Damien Delaney says keeping Wilfried Zaha fit will be vital to the Eagles’ chances of surviving in the Premier League this season.
The Ivory Coast ace recently returned from a month on the sidelines with a knee injury and helped Palace secure a crucial 2-0 victory over fellow strugglers Huddersfield before the international break, a result that moved Roy Hodgson’s side out of the relegation zone.
However, the 25-year-old also picked up a knock during that contest and was subsequently forced to return from international duty early, and now faces a race against time to be fit for next weekend’s league clash with Liverpool at Selhurst Park.
Palace have struggled in Zaha’s absence over recent times – they have not won without the winger in the side since 2016 – and the experienced Delaney is fully aware of the importance of his team-mate.
When asked about Zaha’s role in their relegation battle, Delaney said: “Without him, we lose someone with the ability to release pressure. He is crucial as has been documented when he does and doesn’t play.
“In the Premier League, you can get pinned in but with the way Wilf travels with the ball, he can keep it and give you a breather to get up the pitch. On top of that, the main threat is his goals and ability.
“If we can keep him fit from now until the end of the season, it’ll definitely give us a better chance.”
The upcoming clash with Liverpool is the only time Palace will face a side in the top seven between now and the end of the season, with potentially crucial matches against Bournemouth, Brighton and Watford on the horizon.