Christian Benteke is hoping that the upcoming season will follow an unfamiliar pattern to his previous two campaigns at Crystal Palace.
The striker has scored just four times in two years for the South Londoners, with injuries and a loss of form impacting his performances.
But having headed in the opening goal after two minutes against FC Luzern in the Eagles’ maiden pre-season fixture, the Belgian international is expecting a change of fortune.
“It’s going to be a really important pre-season for me,” Benteke told Palace TV.
“I just want to stay fit, take care of my body and everything will be alright. Last season I was unlucky with my injury during the pre-season but hopefully this season will be a different story.”
Benteke started the eventual penalty shoot-out victory in a strike partnership with Connor Wickham, another Palace player who has struggled with injuries over the last two years.
And the former Aston Villa man says the pair can form a potent duo.
He added: “For me and especially for him [Wickham], it’s important to stay fit. Last season was a different story, we picked up a lot of injuries but hopefully he’s going to stay fit and I’m going to stay fit and we’ll be dangerous up front.”
Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey saved the crucial spot-kick in the shoot-out having seen Palace score their first six before sudden death.
However, the Welshman was quick to make a point of Benteke’s improved form during pre-season.
[Christian] has been on fire to be honest in training and really looks sharp,” said the 32-year-old. “He scored a fantastic goal today and just missed that overhead kick as well.
“If that had gone in, that would have been the icing on the cake.”
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