With Christian Benteke potentially out until 2019 due to injury, and Aleksander Sorloth yet to score a Premier League goal, the return of Connor Wickham could hardly be better timed.
Wickham has not made a single competitive appearance for Crystal Palace since suffering a cruciate ligament injury against Swansea City 23 months ago. But the former Sunderland and Ipswich star edged ever closer to a long-awaited first-team return on Thursday.
Wickham played 45 minutes of football in a friendly clash against Dulwich Hamlet and looked very sharp.
The 25-year-old scored with a bullet header, saw a long-range drive tipped on to the post, and showcased the power and speed that Crystal Palace have been severely lacking in attack throughout this season.
No wonder Wickham, and the Palace fans, are very excited about his return to the fold.
Thank you for all your messages of support tonight.... sorry I can’t reply to each individual one but I’ve seen them all. More importantly a good professional performance against a tough side! And of course happy to be back amongst the goals. #cpfc— Connor Wickham (@ConnorWickham10) October 11, 2018
Really pleased for you Connor, all of the #Cpfcfamily want to see you back out on the hallowed turf asap, all the very best. ❤️— Richard Briggs ❤️ (@Rich789) October 11, 2018
Great to see you back and scoring...we need you ..@CPFC— Paul Carter (@palaceeagles999) October 12, 2018
Well chuffed for you!! You are going to shine ❤️x— Fiona McNamara (@Feemac20) October 12, 2018
I'm a huge fan. U can't be far away from making the 1st team. Look super fit and am willing u to do well. Up the palace— deano (@bpdeans74) October 11, 2018
Just get yourself fit and start banging in the goals in the PL... Good to see your back— Jed_Die (@Jed_Die) October 12, 2018
So happy to see you getting out on the pitch for what looked like was a fantastic and fun game - and of course the Brucie bonus of scoring a goal!!!— Kath Bignall (@kafwinb) October 12, 2018
Crystal Palace have won just two of their eight Premier League games so far in 2018/19, scoring a paltry five goals in that time. Perhaps more worryingly, Roy Hodgson’s side have not hit the back of the net at Selhurst Park all season.
So Wickham’s return cannot come soon enough.
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