Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic is knocking on the door for a recall, according to boss Roy Hodgson.
The midfielder is available for Sunday’s trip to West Brom after he completed a three-match ban for a red card at Wolves and recovered from coronavirus last month.
It has been a stop-start campaign for Milivojevic, who missed a large chunk of pre-season because he had to self-isolate following a trip to his native Serbia and has been absent for further fixtures due to suspension.
While Jairo Riedewald in particular has impressed in Milivojevic’s spell out of the team, a return to fitness provides his manager with another option.
“He is another who unfortunately went away with Serbia and contracted the virus, but he has been over that for a good period of time,” Hodgson said.
“Of course it has been the sending off at Wolves which cost us his services but he is now back and really knocking quite loudly on the door for a place in the team.
“I am in a good position at the moment in terms of players who are able to play and want to play and I don’t have the space for them.”
Like Milivojevic, Wilfried Zaha has recovered from coronavirus and will be part of the squad to feature at the Hawthorns on Sunday.
On Wednesday, UK regulators approved a vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, with other vaccines anticipated to be given the green light in the coming weeks.
Hodgson, 73, added: “Well, a vaccine is an absolute must. I find it hard to understand people are in some way contesting the vaccine and contesting its value.
“For me vaccines have done enormous good. We owe a great debt to the medical world going right back to smallpox injections at the end of the 1700s. We’ve been keeping people alive with vaccines, fighting off terminal diseases for many, many years.
“I’m very happy that a vaccine has now been found to fight off this terrible disease. The sooner it can be rolled out, the better as far as I’m concerned.
“Hopefully we can get people vaccinated and then that hopefully will lead to us going back to a world and a life in terms of our social life and our economic life that we’ve been missing since March this year.”
A more immediate issue for Hodgson is finding a way to end Palace’s run of consecutive defeats, which has seen them drop to 15th in the table.
While the Eagles created chances in the losses to Burnley and Newcastle, they failed to find the net in Zaha’s absence.
“Both games really were games where we could have got something from,” Hodgson stated.
“Our failure to score in both games meant we fell to two defeats and after such a good performance against Leeds, it was not only frustrating, it’s a bit saddening for us.
“But now we’ve got a great opportunity on Sunday to put that behind us and go out and win the next game.”