Yannick Bolasie could make his eagerly anticipated return from injury during Crystal Palace's FA Cup fifth-round fixture away to Tottenham on 21 February. The highly-rated Democratic Republic of Congo winger enjoyed an impressive start to the season for Alan Pardew's side, but has been out of action for two months since sustaining a hip ligament injury during a 2-1 win at Stoke in mid-December.
Bolasie also suffered whiplash during a minor car accident in January, but has been able to return to first-team training and was thought to have travelled along with fellow absentee Bakary Sako as part of the squad that recently embarked upon a warm weather training camp in Spain. Joe Ledley and Dwight Gayle are also expected to make their comebacks from hamstring and thigh problems respectively, but James McArthur and Jason Puncheon remain sidelined.
"The squad is healthier," Pardew was quoted as saying by the club at his weekly pre-match press conference. "We have no McArthur, Puncheon. Everybody else is pretty close." When asked if Bolasie could start, he added: "You'll have to wait and see. He's had a couple of days when we've wondered if he's a player or a magician. He does some strange things with the ball that only he can do. He's smiling again."
Palace's trip to Tottenham is also significant as it marks January signing Emmanuel Adebayor's first return to White Hart Lane since his contract was terminated by mutual consent in September. The outspoken striker revealed this week that he did not enjoy a positive relationship with chairman Daniel Levy during the turbulent final throws of his four-year stint in north London, but Pardew has backed his new recruit to cope with the occasion.
"Adebayor is a player that has character, strength of belief," he added. "He can change games. For whatever reason he didn't fit how Spurs wanted to go forward. "He's highly motivated to do well in the game and for Palace. It's an emotional game for Ade, so we have to protect him. We have to be the best we can be so he can have a successful day."
Palace make the short trip across the capital in the midst of a desperately poor run of form. A brace from Troy Deeney condemned them to a 2-1 loss against Watford at Selhurst Park last weekend and extended their winless sequence in the Premier League to nine matches.