Belfast Telegraph

Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew: Connor Wickham "touch and go" to face Liverpool

In-form Crystal Palace striker Connor Wickham could miss Sunday's Premier League visit of Liverpool owing to a thigh injury he suffered at Sunderland.

The 22-year-old has scored braces in each of Palace's past two games to rediscover the form and confidence that tempted manager Alan Pardew to pay an initial £7million to sign him from Sunderland last summer.

However, his chances of extending that goalscoring run against Liverpool are in the air, with the England Under-21 international facing a late fitness test ahead of the fixture at Selhurst Park, along with Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

"Connor has done terrific, unfortunately he has got a knock and we will have a scan (on Friday), that he picked up in the game," Pardew said.

"We thought it might just be a bang but it could be more serious than that, he is probably touch and go for Sunday.

"(The) four goals he got were fabulous, he showed his technique is sound, left foot, right foot, pace, holding up, he's got it all there, but he's had a fragmented season.

"If he misses out on Sunday, this is the type of situation we've got to address next year, where he can play week-in, week-out. If he misses this Sunday, it is a blow to us but for his part, he has been terrific. It looks good going forward; he is only 22.

"Wayne Hennessey is also struggling and that's something we'll look at at the 11th hour again. (Left-back Pape) Souare coming back (after suspension) is a boost for us, the balance he gives us down left side is important and he will start."

Souare's return could mean former Liverpool defender Martin Kelly is sacrificed, but one player Pardew will certainly start is Wilfried Zaha, who the manager insisted will not be transferred to China regardless of speculation suggesting otherwise.

"(We will) fight tooth and nail to hold on to all our good players," he said. "We want to build this club, it's an important year and (will be) the first time we've done three years in a row in the Premier League.

"We want to get across that hurdle and then build again with our best players. As a career move, China for Zaha makes no sense, I can't see him being interested in that. He's picked up this year, been our best player in this period, the games of the last two months."


From Belfast Telegraph