Crystal Palace’s starlet Sullay Kaikai returned to the club from Shrewsbury over the Christmas period as Alan Pardew’s side was ravished by injuries but a hamstring injury put pay to his chances of featuring in the first-team.
But now Kaikai has returned to the Shropshire side as they look to survive in League One this season; but the winger admitted he didn’t realise he picked up the injury when he returned home to Crystal Palace.
Kaikai has produced some standout performances in Micky Mellon’s side, and so far has scored 10 goals in 19 games, which is good for a player who is predominantly a winger.
Kaikai admits it was the ‘first time’ he had ever had a hamstring injury
Since Christmas, Pardew’s men have been an atrocious run, which has seen them not win a single league game in 2016.
But their saving grace has been their journey in the FA Cup where they face Watford in the semi-final at the end of April.
The festive period saw Pardew without a whole host of first-team players such as Yannick Bolasie, Connor Wickham and more, so he brought back loanees such as Kaikai and Jonathan Williams to fill the gap.
But when injury hit for Kaikai his chance in the first-team went, “it is the first time I’ve ever had a hamstring injury in my career,” said the 20-year-old speaking to South London Press.
After getting himself fit Kaikai was back in contention, but Pardew felt going back to Shrewsbury was better for the youngster’s development; and since returning he has made a vital difference to Mellon side.
Speaking of the loan move, Kaikai said: “The gaffer thought it was best for me to play games week in and week out rather than stall my development.”
After this season is over, Kaikai aims to impress Pardew over pre-season to see if he can force his way into the former Newcastle United manager’s plan for next season.
There are some emerging young talents at Palace, but Kaikai says, “every year I’m trying to get into the first team,” it won’t be easy for the youngsters to get into the side at the moment, as Palace are facing a fight to remain in the league.
But Kaikai believes if he can ‘gain the manager’s trust’ he will have a chance to show the Selhurst Park faithful what he is all about.