Crystal Palace take on Huddersfield Town tonight in the Carabao Cup, with Eagles defender Pape Souaré set to make his unlikely return to first-team action a year on from his horrific car accident.
The Senegal left-back was airlifted to hospital from his vehicle on the M4 in August last year and was told he was likely to never play football again after sustaining a broken leg. However, the 27 year-old has defied logic and will make a highly emotional appearance back in the Palace first team. Manager Roy Hodgson confirmed Souaré’s return in a press conference following the 0-1 defeat to Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.
Souaré arrived at Palace in January 2015 in a £3.5 million deal from LOSC Lille and went on to make 46 appearances under Alan Pardew before his tragic accident. He is a hugely popular figure amongst the Selhurst faithful and is well-remembered for his bombing runs in support of Yannick Bolasie down Palace’s left two seasons ago. His crossing ability and defensive cover was greatly missed last season, as Palace failed to adapt without a recognised left-back in Martin Kelly.
Tonight’s team news also sees another welcome return in £26 million pound centre-back Mamadou Sakho, who is due to make his second debut for the Eagles since making his move permanent from Liverpool. The 27 year-old Frenchman has yet to play this season and will offer another significant boost to the left side of defence.
After the 0-3 humiliation at Selhurst Park on the opening day, Palace will be vying for revenge in a competition allowing them more freedom away from the pressures of Premier League football. The Terriers are expected to field a weaker side in order to rest star men ahead of their trip to Burnley at the weekend.