With a long list of names on Crystal Palace’s injury list some would be forgiven for asking why Connor Wickham’s name was absent.

Such has been the striker's misfortune since his 2015 arrival from Sunderland in a £9million move it seems a foregone conclusion that the 26-year-old would be on the treatment table.

A bruised rib, cruciate ligament damage, a groin strain, multiple calf strains, on top of a host of niggling injuries and knocks have limited the 6'2" one-time man tipped for international honours to just 48 appearances in four years, 22 of which from the bench.

With a new year however, there seems to be a change in fortune for Wickham.

Summoned from the familiar position on the bench, the man who took in loan spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United while at teh Black Cats grabbed a goal at Norwich on New Year’s Day, his first since November 2016, earning the Eagles a draw.

Canary fans aside you’d be hard pushed to find someone begrudging him his goal after his four-year injury misery.

His celebration at Carrow Road, thanks to VAR overturning the linesman's off-side flag, may have been delayed but the outpouring of emotion was clear to see, and not just from the goal scorer.

Every Eagle, Vicente Guaita aside, surrounded the forward, seemingly knowing the journey Wickham had been on to get himself not only fit but back in Roy Hodgson’s plans.

“You can only be impressed by his perseverance,” the Palace boss said.

“So many times I think I’ve said ‘he seems to be making progress, getting over another serious injury,’ only to pick up a minor muscle injury again.

“Two to three weeks he goes again and something else happens.”

Who's in his way?

And even when he is fit, there’s no guarantee he’ll be involved with Jordan Ayew and Christian Benteke vying for the lead role in Hodgson’s front line.

The elephant in the room is that you sense the board, and manager, are desperate for Benteke’s £27million signing to be a success meaning he’s more likely to get a chance to shine, even if his own goalscoring record doesn’t read well.

However, with Benteke unfortunatley sidelined once again with injury, surely now is the time for Wickham to make a claim for a leading role?

Your Local Guardian: (Wickham recovering from cruciate ligament surgery in 2106)(Wickham recovering from cruciate ligament surgery in 2106)

An FA Cup tie against Wayne Rooney’s Derby County could be the perfect stage to kick-start his Eagles career, and listening to his manager you’d think Sunday’s tie at Selhurst Park he'll get his first start since an EFL Cup game in August last year.

“It’s good he’s had a spell now of a month where he’s been training regularly, had the odd game for the under 23s," Hodgson said. 

“When he’s had a chance to come on in the last two games it’s good to see and to prove he is capable of playing and available for selection.”

Hodgson claims he’ll be fielding his strongest possible side on Sunday, but with the injury crisis mounting and a real possibility of a best ever Premier League finish this season, one would expect changes to the Palace’s starting XI.

And one of those changes surely will be Wickham coming in, with a point to a prove.