Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke is ready to play for the first time in nearly two months following a knee injury when Everton travel to Selhurst Park this weekend.

The Belgium international damaged his medial collateral ligament in the 5-0 defeat to Manchester City on 23 September and has missed six games across a close to eight-week absence.

But having returned to training during the international break, Benteke is in line to face Everton on Saturday [18 November] in what is a major boost to the Premier League's bottom club.

"Christian Benteke has trained all week, which is very positive," manager Roy Hodgson said, according to Sky Sports.

"I don't think it's just the weekend [that he will play a big part], we're hoping he can pay a big part going forward for us. Don't forget he hasn't played for seven weeks, it's good that he's physically fit to play.

"I don't think it will be a risk playing him, he's had three good training sessions this week, four after tomorrow and he worked very hard before he joined us to make sure he was 100 per cent certain, so I don't have any fears for him."

Benteke has not scored in any of his six appearances this season for Palace. In his absence Hodgson has been forced to deploy Wilfried Zaha, Bakary Sako and Andros Townsend as auxiliary forwards, with fellow striker Connor Wickham also sidelined.

But as Benteke prepares to return against managerless Everton, England midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek is set to miss the game with a back injury suffered while on international duty.

The Chelsea loanee played the full 90 minutes against Germany, but in his second start in the space of five days lasted only 35 minutes against Brazil on just his second cap for his country.

Hodgson may have to wait until hours before the match before determining whether the 21-year-old will be fit to face David Unsworth's Everton side, but has hailed his talent after making his England bow in the back-to-back friendlies.

"He [Loftus-Cheek] didn't train today, but it's a back spasm so there's hope that that will get better and maybe even pass," added Hodgson, the England boss between 2012 and 2016. "We won't know that until tomorrow and maybe even Saturday.

"I think he's a quality player. I think it was good that he got the opportunity and that he took that opportunity. When a young player comes into the team and does well, they sometimes get praised to the sky.

"We're very good at praising people to the sky and then knocking them down very quickly afterwards. I hope that won't affect him. I don't think it will, he's a very composed and sensible young man.

"He knows he played well but he also knows that there's a lot of work to do before he can really call himself a top-class international player."

Knocks mean that Jordon Mutch, Patrick van Aanholt and Chung-Yong Lee are all sidelined, while Wickham is still another six weeks away from a return having spent 11 months out with cruciate knee ligament damage.

Christian Benteke
Benteke has not scored this season but is braced to return to lead the Palace attack Getty Images