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Mirror UK / Sports

Delight for Hodgson as crocked Palace star returns weeks ahead of schedule

Third-bottom Eagles' star man was expected to be out until after the upcoming international break but may play on Saturday

Roy Hodgson has been handed a major fitness boost by his “MVP” Wilfried Zaha.

Crystal Palace talisman Zaha could feature against Chelsea in Saturday's evening game, after returning to first team training this week — well ahead of schedule.

The winger was expected to be out until after this Month's international break with a knee injury, but has made what Hodgson called a “remarkable recovery”.

Zaha took part in a “modified” session with his third-bottom Londoners on Thursday and should do more light work on Friday.

Palace have been without matchwinner Zaha since the February 4 game against Newcastle (Image: Getty)

Boss Hodgson will then speak to his medics as well as his star man before deciding if the time is right to chuck him back into Palace's relegation battle.

Hodgson admitted the 25-year-old is “itching” to return and said: “All teams are reliant upon their decisive players — their MVPs to use an American analogy.

The star's return is great news for Hodgson with Palace back in the drop zone (Image: Plumb Images/Leicester City/Getty)

“I would be delighted if it was possible for him to play any part on Saturday.

“What we definitely don't want to do is push him back that week too early and miss him at the end of the season.”

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Palace's squad has been decimated recently, but Hodgson's injury list is slowly starting to shorten.

Defender Mamadou Sakho is also due to train on Friday, midfielder Yohan Cabaye is also closing in on his comeback and Hodgson hopes on-loan midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek will return on Monday after the game against his parent club.

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