Poch backs Crystal Palace boss – as he hopes for defensive boosts ahead of London derby

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LEVI Colwill and Trevoh Chalobah are nearing a Chelsea return – and Maurico Pochettino is hopeful that Benoit Badiashile will be fit to face Crystal Palace on Monday. 

Badiashile partnered Alex Disasi in the 3-1 win against Aston Villa in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Wednesday but was forced off three minutes from time. 

Colwill hasn’t played since the 6-1 win against Middlesbrough in the second leg of the EFL Cup semi-final in January. 

Chalobah hasn’t played yet this season as a hamstring injury has kept him out. 

“Benoit, we need to assess him, still we need to wait for the scan,” Pochettino said in his pre-match briefing. “It’s his groin. I hope it’s not a big issue, but this afternoon we will know better.

“And then maybe Levi will be back on Monday, we need to wait until Sunday to see if it is possible for him to be available. The other news is that Chalobah is doing well, he’s training with the team.” 

The pressure on Pochettino eased slightly after that replay win at Villa Park. Pochettino has also led the Blues into that EFL Cup decider against Liverpool. 

Roy Hodgson is also under pressure with Palace just five points above the relegation zone before the weekend’s fixtures could drop them closer to the bottom three. 

Hodgson’s problems have increased this week as the Eagles will be without influential attackers Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise. 

“Roy is my friend, I admire him and he is an unbelievable coach,” Pochettino said. “He’s working really well and of course in football now when you lose one or two games in a row the pressure always arrives. But I have no doubt that he is going to be successful with Palace – I hope after our game!

“But it’s going to be difficult for us because as always we have some players dealing with injury. 

“Of course they have two very good players out, but I think they have a squad that can deal with this situation.” 


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