Belfast Telegraph

Wilfried Zaha needs to stay and be key man for Crystal Palace - Sam Allardyce

Sam Allardyce has told Wilfried Zaha to realise his full potential at Crystal Palace despite persistent interest from Premier League rivals.

Palace's clash with Tottenham on Wednesday night will see Zaha going up against the side most frequently linked with attempts to prise him away from Selhurst Park.

Eagles boss Allardyce has insisted that Zaha should stay put this summer, though, in order to maximise his rich promise.

"As far as I know, Wilfried's contract has a considerable amount of time to come," said Allardyce, with 24-year-old Zaha contracted until 2020 with Palace.

"The summer will bring whatever it brings, whether that's negotiating a new contract with us or some outrageous bid from somewhere else.

"From a personal point of view, he needs to stay and play every week and be a key man while Crystal Palace keep getting better and better.

"He's getting closer and closer to the final product, so I think he can find himself even more so if he stays here, but obviously I'm not in control of that."

Centre-back James Tomkins could miss the rest of the season with a leg injury suffered in the weekend's 2-1 league win at Liverpool.

"It's a bad injury for James," Allardyce said. "(There's) nothing broken, which we're very pleased about considering the volatile nature of the tackle, (but) it's quite fortunate there's not more serious damage.

"But quite whether he'll be fit by the end of the season is a doubt at this moment in time, which is not great for us with Scott Dann being a long-term injury as well.

"I think he (Liverpool midfielder Marko Grujic) was lucky to get yellow. He wasn't in control, hit just above the ankle on his standing leg, completely missed the ball. So I think he's fortunate to get a yellow."

Palace, who have posted six wins and one defeat in their last eight matches, could rubber-stamp Premier League safety with victory over Spurs.

Allardyce reckons his side's recent resurgence represents one of the best runs of his managerial career.

"We needed that to get ourselves out of trouble, but we're still not mathematically out of trouble," he said.

"It shows great fight and desire from the players to get ourselves out of that predicament.

"They've grasped it in the end superbly well and done an outstanding job.

"It has to be one of the best run of results in the long career I've had as a manager in the Premier League, to accumulate victories at Chelsea and Liverpool, and of course Arsenal at home, the comeback against Leicester and before that the edgy wins against Watford and Middlesbrough.

"We've done a fantastic job, but I just hope the players now don't come off the gas.

"There can be a natural tendency to say 'we've done it'. We took advantage of West Brom on that basis, and that can happen.

"I just hope the game's big enough on Wednesday for the lads not to do that."

Allardyce will wait until Wednesday morning before deciding whether to make wholesale changes from Sunday's impressive win at Liverpool.

"The players' recoveries is a big question to selection," he said.

"Do we let them go again? And if we do, are they capable of going again? And if not, should we change the side?

"That's the question we've been asking ourselves (on Monday), again (on Tuesday) and probably again (on Wednesday morning).

"If they don't have that energy in the locker then we're going to find it extremely hard to compete with a Tottenham side in fine form at the moment."

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