Gary Cahill could be available for Crystal Palace’s trip to Watford on Saturday.

The defender who missed the previous two fixtures against Burnley and Bournemouth with an ankle injury provided Roy Hodgson with a glimmer of hope he will be ready to ease the defensive crisis that is going on at Selhurst Park.

“I'm okay, I'll be back very soon I think," Cahill said on Wednesday.

"I was outside today with the physio so we'll see how we get on tomorrow."

Following victory on Tuesday night Hodgson admitted he wouldn’t rule out the former Chelsea man’s return for the trip to Vicarage Road and Cahill’s comments will provide more hope he’ll be available.

His return will be more than welcome for the Eagles with the backline undergoing a reshuffle in the wake of injuries and suspensions.

Right back Joel Ward is expected to be missing until the New Year, centre back Scott Dann has no timeframe on a return from a knee injury, Mamadou Sakho’s red card on Tuesday rules the  Frenchman out of the next three fixtures while the remaining centre back, Martin Kelly is deputising for Ward at right back.

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To make matters more complicated Patrick van Aanholt will also be missing from the weekend’s fixture after injuring his hamstring in the 1-0 win over Bournemouth.

"I’m more concerned about injuries to Ward and Van Aanholt because of the shifting around players [their injuries require]," Hodgson continued.

"At centre-back, even when we lose so many as we did on Tuesday, Cheikhou Kouyate goes there as he does so often for Senegal.

“He’s more than capable - we use him in midfield but that’s not to say he’s not a very competent centre-back.

"With Ward, when it happened they threatened me with two months [out] and that was two weeks ago.

“There’s plenty of time in that if the suggestion or prognosis is correct.

"There’s no timescale on Van Aanholt at the moment - it’s far too fresh, the injury. “We had it scanned so we know there’s a hamstring strain there but there’s no timescale."

Tuesday’s matchwinner Jeffrey Schlupp is expected to remain at left-back in van Aanholt’s absence, while Hodgson suggested Max Meyer will be unavailable due to illness.

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