Crystal Palace academy boss Gary Issott on return of Scott Dann – with centre-back completing his own mini pre-season

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

Scott Dann looks on the verge of being back available for Crystal Palace – after the central defender banked another 90 minutes in an U23 win over Millwall on Monday.

The experienced centre-back has been out since suffering cruciate knee liagment damage on New Year’s Eve against Manchester City.

But Dann could be about to boost Roy Hodgson’s options after once again coming through unscathed for the Eagles as they beat Millwall 2-0 at Copers Cope Road.

Palace academy director Gary Issott watched the derby. He said: “Scott got through the game. The plan was for him to do his second 90 minutes and getting him back for selection really.

“Everything has gone according to plan. He played 45 minutes at Dulwich, then 60 in a reserve game at home. Now he has done the two 90s. It is whether or not the medical staff think that’s enough now.

“He has pretty much completed what a pre-season looks like in terms of games and minutes.”

James Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho have been first-choice picks in the middle of Palace’s backline.

But Dann, 31, has played 200 Premier League matches.

Asked about his return being a bonus for manager Roy Hodgson, Issott replied: “Crikey, yeah.

“He [Dann] will have been so frustrated with what has happened. While he was playing in the U23 squad he has been really good with the young players as well – Ollie O’Dwyer and Sam Woods.”

Manchester City have been linked with a January move for Aaron Wan-Bissaka. But the likelihood of Palace indulging a sale of the England U21 international at any time in the forseeable future seems very slim.

The Eagles have always fought to keep their prize assets with Wilfried Zaha, previously the subject of interest from Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, continually rewarded with improved deals.

And Wan-Bissaka’s contract situation is a comfortable one for Palace supremo Steve Parish. The pacey right-back signed terms keeping him at Selhurst Park until the summer of 2022 not too long ago following his impressive emergence onto the first team scene.

The Croydon-born defender has started 10 of their 11 Premier League fixtures this season.

IMAGE BY BRIAN TONKS

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