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Sunday 20
January

Crystal Palace

Benteke to sit out Grimsby clash

4th January 2019, 15:50 by Chris Rivers

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson says Christian Benteke will not make his much anticipated return in the FA Cup tie with Grimsby.

The Belgium international has not played for the Eagles since September 1 due to a knee injury but is back in training and closing in on a return to action.

Hodgson had considered throwing him into the squad for the visit of League Two Grimsby although he won't take the risk.

Other than Benteke, the ex-England head coach has a fully-fit squad to choose from and will freshen up his line-up for the clash, pledging to give "six or seven" players opportunities to stake a claim for more regular action.

Connor Wickham is in line for a first start of the season, while Joel Ward, Jeffrey Schlupp, Max Meyer and Jairo Riedewald could also come into the starting line-up, having been left on the bench for Wednesday's win over Wolves.

Hodgson said: "You'll see a changed side, but it's not just a case of bringing through younger players. We can't keep top international players forever on the sidelines because we've been lucky enough to have a very stable and consistent first XI. There are a lot of players who are more than good enough to play in the Crystal Palace first team but they haven't had a chance.

"I'm not using it [tomorrow's game] as an experimental occasion. I want to put a team out on the field that I think will win the game. We know that will never be easy because Grimsby will come here looking to upset the apple cart."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Chris Rivers is an experienced reporter who closely follows both Arsenal and Wales Rugby Union team. As well as in-depth football and rugby knowledge, Chris is an avid American Football, Formula One and boxing fan.

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