BY ANDREW MCSTEEN
Crystal Palace’s summer signing Nathan Ferguson is still not training with the first team as the defender continues his rehabilitation from a knee injury.
Manager Roy Hodgson was asked about how the 19-year-old’s recovery was going after the 2-1 friendly win against Oxford United last night at Selhurst Park.
“Rehab? Rehab. I don’t know what to call it really,” Hodgson told PalaceTV. “It’s a tricky one because it was a knee injury, and an important one.
“It’s that difficult moment – when do you put him back into competitive training? When do you put him back in training which is a lot more intense than the type of training he’s been doing during his rehab?
“No-one’s got a 100 per cent answer to that.”
Ferguson had been set to move to SE25 in the January transfer window, but the injury required surgery which put that switch on ice.
Eventually, the then out-of-contract defender joined the Eagles in July, with his transfer fee from West Bromwich Albion now set to go to tribunal after the two clubs could not agree on the compensation.
Hodgson will have to play a waiting game as the young full back continues his individual one-to-one training overseen by Palace’s first-team rehabilitation coach Michael Eglon.
“At the moment, the sports science and medical department are wanting to keep him back a bit more,” he said.
“I’ve got to say, when I see him doing his one-to-one work with the sports scientist, with Michael, he looks fine, but, of course, we don’t know until he gets into a situation where he’s got to twist and turn, where he’s got to hold off challenges, where he’s got to accept a bit more weight going on that knee, how it’s going to really react.
“I have to be patient and wait for them to tell me that they think the strength is where it should be now, and he can come back into training. He’s looking okay from what I can see but we’d like to see him really in with us training every day so we can get an even better idea of what he’s able to do for us.”
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