Crystal Palace defender Martin Kelly has returned to first-team training ahead of his side's encounter with Manchester United as Roy Hodgson looks to recover some much-needed defensive options before the visit of Jose Mourinho's side on Saturday (3 March).

Kelly has missed the last few weeks with a hamstring problem but was able to participate in first-team training ahead of the clash with United, according to The Evening Standard. Hodgson's men are hoping the former Liverpool star will be able to play some part against their esteemed opponents as they look to put some daylight between themselves and 18th-placed Southampton, who they are currently level on points with.

Kelly's seemingly imminent return to fitness comes as a much-needed boost for Palace, who are down to the bare bones in defence.

Key centre-back Mamadou Sakho is currently struggling with a calf problem, James Tomkins was substituted late on during the 1-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday [26 February] with cramp, Jeffrey Schlupp is struggling with a knee problem, as is Julian Speroni.

Scott Dann is also out after rupturing his cruciate ligament over the festive period while Timothy Fosu-Mensah, on loan from United, will not be able to face his parent club.

Their injury problems do not stop in defence, either: Jason Puncheon, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Connor Wickham, Bakary Sako and Wilfried Zaha are all sidelined with a variety of ailments.

Hodgson, who will hope his side can end a run of form that has garnered only two points from their last five matches, was confident over Tomkins' chances of recovering in time to face United in his press conference but was non-committal over Sakho, who has only managed to start 10 league matches for Palace due to a number of fitness problems.

Veteran defender Damien Delaney replaced Tomkins during the dying embers of Palace's clash with Spurs on the weekend and may be tasked with trying to stifle United's attack despite having started just twice in the Premier League all season.

Martin Kelly and Sead Kolasinac
Kelly will hope to return to action against United Getty Images