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Crystal Palace's Cheick Doucoure 'making positive strides in injury recovery'

Palace's Doucoure 'making positive strides in injury recovery'
© Reuters
Crystal Palace midfielder Cheick Doucoure is reportedly making positive strides in his recovery from a snapped Achilles, in hope of a return before the end of the season.

Crystal Palace midfielder Cheick Doucoure has reportedly stepped up his efforts to return from injury before the end of the season.

The club's Player of the Season from last year snapped his Achilles in a defeat away to Luton Town back in November, with initial fears suggesting that it would end his season.

Doucoure was instantly ruled out of the Africa Cup of Nations with Mali, and a return before May appeared unlikely.

The 24-year-old had been near-ever-present for the Eagles, missing just two matches prior to his long-term injury.

However, while the midfielder will not be fit to play in the reverse fixture against the Hatters this weekend, the Evening Standard claims that he is making positive steps in his recovery.

The report states that there is a chance that Doucoure could feature before the end of the season, as he has been doing rehabilitation and fitness work at the Palace training ground for three weeks now.

New manager Oliver Glasner is expected to have Doucoure at his disposal for the start of May, by which point the Eagles will hope to be safe from relegation.

A draw at Everton and a win over Burnley in Glasner's first game in charge has moved Palace eight points clear of the drop zone with 11 games remaining, and they can extend that gap to 11 points if they beat Luton on Saturday.

Crystal Palace manager Oliver Glasner before the match on February 24, 2024© Reuters

While the signing of Adam Wharton has plugged the gap left by Doucoure for now, welcoming back the Mali international will only strengthen the Palace side, even if it is only for the final few games of the season.

An impressive first season at the club following a move from Lens in the summer of 2022 saw Doucoure awarded the Player of the Season accolade, and led to transfer interest from Liverpool.

A £70m price-tag was enough to deter the current league leaders from prising Doucoure away from Selhurst Park, as Palace kept hold of all of their star players last summer, including Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise and Marc Guehi.

There is unlikely to be any move away from South London for Doucoure this summer either, after he signed a new five-and-a-half year deal with the club last week.

Injuries to that aforementioned trio, on top of the serious issue suffered by Doucoure, all piled up on Palace in one go though, and contributed to a drastic fall off in form.

That eventually saw Roy Hodgson replaced by Glasner, combined with the health of the former Palace boss who collapsed at the club's training ground.

Glasner has Eze back now though, and he scored at Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, but Palace remain without Doucoure, as well as Olise and Guehi ahead of their clash with Luton this weekend.

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Crystal Palace's Marc Guehi during the warm up before the match on December 27, 2023
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