Crystal Palace have been handed a boost after midfielder, James McArthur, admitted that he could return from injury within the next three weeks.
The Scotland international had originally conceded that his season could be over after suffering torn ankle ligaments in the 2-1 defeat to Bournemouth in February. However, the 28-year-old recently told cpfc.co.uk, “It (the injury) has taken its time to heal" but the target "is to be back in three weeks.”
McArthur went on to admit that the time scale for his return is going to be “tight”, and that the club’s medical staff were trying to “push it as much as possible”, however, the rehabilitation has got to be “controlled” so that he does not suffer a recurrence of the injury.
McArthur's previous FA Cup exploits could be vital experience as Palace aim to progress to the final
The former Wigan Athletic midfielder hopes to be involved in the Eagles’ FA Cup semi-final tie against Watford and he has fond memories of the competition, having lifted the trophy with the Latics in 2013. Former Palace and current Watford midfielder, Ben Watson, scored a dramatic late goal against Manchester City to secure Roberto Martinez’ side victory and McArthur could have the chance to repeat the feat as Palace target their first major cup final for 26 years.
McArthur had a superb start to the season, forming a formidable partnership with summer signing, Yohan Cabaye, in central midfield as Palace flirted with the European places. However, a recent plight – coinciding with McArthur’s injury - has seen Alan Pardew’s side fighting for their Premier League status having gone 13 games without a win.
Injuries have seriously impacted Palace during shocking downturn in fortunes
Palace’s season has been heavily disrupted by injuries to key players; McArthur has been joined by Yannick Bolasie, Connor Wickham, Jason Puncheon and Dwight Gayle on the treatment table in recent months and this has negatively affected Pardew’s team selection. The Palace boss has recently been forced to adopt a three-man midfield which has ultimately failed to spark a return to form.
Bolasie has since returned to the Palace side following an injury that had kept him out since December, and Puncheon has since returned from a hamstring problem, albeit he has failed to come off the bench in each of the previous two games.
McArthur has made 25 appearances for Palace this season, scoring twice – both coming in the 5-1 win over Newcastle United in November.