Christian Benteke could return to training soon after Crystal Palace’s FA Cup tie with Grimsby Town in January.

The striker, who has not played since September 9, underwent surgery on his knee a few months ago and was expected to be out until the New Year.

After Palace boss Roy Hodgson said he’d made “exceptional” progress in his recovery, medical staff are still looking at the end of December or beginning of January.

READ: Townsend: Man City wonder goal was 'definitely cleanest strike of my career'

When asked how far off Benteke was from his return, Hodgson said: “I think the medical and sports science people always tell me that you won't be able to count on him until the end of December, beginning of January.

“That's basically where he is.

“He was actually a week ahead of schedule. We were hoping, maybe, he'd be back in training next week with the team. I think that's been put back so I think it'll probably be now after the FA Cup tie.

“But the good thing is that he's working hard and he's absolutely determined to get back on that field of play and to score the goals he was brought to the club to score.

“His attitude has been excellent in his recovery so we're looking forward to seeing him again and we don't think it'd be too long.”

READ: Where Hodgson ranks Palace's shock Man City win in his career

Benteke is yet to register a goal this season but has only played four games for Palace since the start of the campaign.

The £27 million forward will be hoping to get off the mark soon after he scored three times in 31 games last season.