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Crystal Palace suffer major blow with Christian Benteke ruled out for minimum six weeks

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Crystal Palace have suffered a significant blow in their battle to avoid relegation, with striker Christian Benteke ruled out for at least six weeks with a knee injury.

The Belgium international underwent a scan on Monday after suffering the ligament damage in Saturday’s 5-0 defeat at Manchester City. There are fears that he could be out for longer than six weeks but that is the time frame being put on the injury at present following the scan.

Benteke’s absence will hurt Palace, who are already without Connor Wickham, who has not played for almost a year due to injury, and let Fraizer Campbell and Loic Remy leave the club in the summer.

Palace did try to sign Oumar Niasse from Everton, but a deal for the 27-year-old Senegal striker fell through. Niasse came off the bench to score the two goals to beat Bournemouth last Saturday for Everton.

It means Palace may have to look at any free agents who are available to try and bolster their squad. Palace can sign a free agent outside the transfer window and have left one space in their 25‑man Premier League squad to allow them to register any potential new arrival.

Rickie Lambert is a player who is available and who new Palace manager Roy Hodgson knows well from England duty. Lambert has been without a club since he left Cardiff over the summer, but there would be doubts over the fitness of the 35-year-old.

Palace have played winger Bakary Sako as a central striker and may have to do so again with the forthcoming fixtures against Manchester United, before the international break, and Chelsea immediately after it. After that Palace face Newcastle United away and then Bristol City away in the Carabao Cup, before a home fixture against West Ham United and then Tottenham Hotspur away.

It has been an unforgiving start to the season for Palace, who have yet to score a goal or gain a point in the Premier League.

Telegraph

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