Sport Soccer

Monday 28 May 2018

Crystal Palace's Benteke brothers could face Middlesbrough

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew, pictured, could hand new signing Jonathan Benteke his debut at Middlesbrough
Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew, pictured, could hand new signing Jonathan Benteke his debut at Middlesbrough

Alan Pardew has revealed Jonathan Benteke is in contention to make his Crystal Palace debut on Saturday at Middlesbrough.

The little-known striker arrived at the club from Zulte Waregem for a nominal fee shortly after his older brother Christian became Palace's club record signing for £27.5million.

Christian Benteke is expected to start the Middlesbrough game, setting up the possibility of the brothers playing together at some stage.

A thigh injury suffered by fellow new signing Loic Remy has limited Pardew's attacking options for Saturday's Premier League fixture.

Remy has been ruled out for the coming seven or eight weeks having only just arrived on loan from Chelsea, and Jonathan Benteke, 21, could benefit with an unexpected chance.

"I will be taking him this weekend," said Pardew, who remains in pursuit of a first league victory of the season.

"He is a young striker with natural talent, and they are not easy to find.

"This (transfer) was because of Christian, he highlighted him to us. We checked him out and liked the look of him. It was not a big fee so he comes here under no pressure. He might surprise one or two hopefully."

On Remy, Pardew said: "(He has) a tear in his thigh. It is an area where recovery is difficult. We have to be careful. We are so disappointed because he looked great. It was a very innocuous moment on the training ground.

"Sadly that happens. Fortunately we have enough cover to cope without him for this period. Seven or eight weeks he is going to have to be out. But we have had good negotiations with Chelsea."

Mathieu Flamini on Thursday became Pardew's latest recruit when arriving on a free transfer until the end of the season, and the former Arsenal player will also travel to the Riverside Stadium.

The manager refused to reveal if Flamini would start, owing to concerns over a potential lack of match fitness, but he has fitness doubts over fellow midfielders Yohan Cabaye and James McArthur. Bakary Sako is a further doubt, while Fraizer Campbell has been ruled out.

Asked if the 32-year-old Flamini was ready, Pardew said: "Physically he is. He is very fit but whether he is up to game speed I do not know.

"I am going to take him this weekend because his knowledge, and having him around, will be like having another coach."

Press Association

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