Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blow for De Boer as Zaha Stays on Sidelines for Crunch Match

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blow for De Boer as Zaha Stays on Sidelines for Crunch Match

Article excerpt

Byline: Giuseppe Muro Football Correspondent

FRANK DE BOER will be without Wilfried Zaha for Sunday's crunch match at Burnley that could decide his future as Crystal Palace manager.

The Dutchman faces the sack if Palace lose this weekend and Zaha has not recovered from his knee injury in time to give the manager a boost ahead of the trip to Turf Moor.

Zaha posted on social media this week that he was making "steady progress" and would be "back soon" but he is not fit to face Sean Dyche's side.

The winger injured his right knee against Huddersfield on the opening day of the season and his absence since has been a major problem for De Boer.

De Boer appears to have one more game to save his job and will have to get a result against Burnley without, arguably, his most influential player.

Mamadou Sakho has trained with the Palace squad this week following his PS26million deadline-day move from Liverpool but the defender is still short of fitness.

Sakho only recently recovered from a knee injury suffered at the back end of last season and did not have a full pre-season.

It seems unlikely that De Boer will rush Sakho back into action, even though he is under pressure to get a result after a nightmare start to life in English football.

Palace had hoped Zaha might have been back after the international break but the 24-year-old was still in a brace this week and has been unable to resume training.

Even though Sakho has not played since April, former Palace manager Sam Allardyce believes the 27-yearold could be the "saviour" for De Boer.

The centre-half played a major role in helping Palace avoid relegation under Allardyce last season, when he was on loan at Selhurst Park from Liverpool.

Allardyce said: "Mama Sakho is a big influence for me. He could be the saviour [for De Boer], as he was for me. He was one of the major reasons we stayed in the Premier League.

"He took control of the defence, which meant less coaching for me, because he was talking on the field and had an influence on the other players. …

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