Diego Cavalieri
Diego Cavalieri previously earned three international caps for Brazil Matthew Stockman/Getty Images


  • Jeffrey Schlupp and Martin Kelly are both expected to be fit for Monday night's Premier League fixture.
  • Up to 10 players remain sidelined for the hosts, although Wilfried Zaha is still recovering "ahead of schedule".
  • Former Liverpool goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri is set to sign for the Eagles on a deal until the end of the season.

Injury-ravaged Crystal Palace look set to be handed a double fitness boost before Monday night's [5 March] clash with Manchester United, though Roy Hodgson will still remain without up to 10 players for the Premier League encounter at Selhurst Park as he closes in on the signing of 35-year-old former Liverpool goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri.

The Eagles' impressive fightback from the most abject start to a season in top-flight history has been rather curtailed of late amid an injury crisis described by Roy Hodgson as one of the worst he has experienced during his 42-year managerial career to date that is seriously jeopardising their survival bid.

Palace's threadbare squad was without 12 first-team squad members for a 1-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend that extended their winless run to five matches and saw them remain 17th, above the relegation zone on goal difference.

Twenty-year-old Aaron Wan-Bissaka was handed his league debut in that fixture, while fellow academy products Jason Lokilo, Nya Kirby and Dion Henry were all on the bench.

Jeffrey Schlupp (knee) and Martin Kelly (hamstring) resumed training last week and were deemed not fit enough to feature in that London derby meeting with Spurs, although Hodgson says he is counting on both being available against United.

"I said last time that Jeffrey Schlupp and Martin Kelly were close to returning to full training, I think they had done one session with us before the Spurs game but they have trained all week and I am counting on those two being fit but they are the only two back," he told reporters at his pre-match press conference, according to the club's official website.

Hodgson's confirmation that Schlupp and Kelly are the only two players in line to return means that the likes of Mamadou Sakho, Yohan Cabaye and Joel Ward will all remain sidelined along with Chelsea loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Julian Speroni, Bakary Sako and long-term absentees Scott Dann, Jason Puncheon and Connor Wickham.

The manager had already revealed that James Tomkins was suffering from serious cramp rather than any actual injury before being substituted in the latter stages against Spurs, while key winger Wilfried Zaha is still "recovering ahead of schedule" but "mainly doing straight running" and not "doing the more complicated twisting, turning and contact with other players yet".

The injury to Speroni and the fact that Vicente Guaita is not expected to arrive in south London until his Getafe contract expires in July has left the unconvincing Wayne Hennessey as Palace's only fit senior goalkeeper and Hodgson confirmed speculation that a deal to sign free agent Cavalieri, released by Fluminense after six years in 2017, until the end of the season was imminent.

"Everything's been agreed. It's a question of paperwork now," he said, per Sky Sports.

Quizzed if the Brazilian, who made 10 cup appearances during a two-year stint at Liverpool between 2008-10 before being sold by then Reds boss Hodgson to Cesena, had a realistic chance of playing between now and the summer, the 70-year-old replied: "We've only got two senior goalkeepers so his chances are great."

Cavalieri would need to be registered by midday tomorrow [2 March] in order to be eligible to make the squad for that Monday night affair against Jose Mourinho's second-place United.