James McArthur hopes to return from injury inside a month to boost Crystal Palace’s options for a period that could define their season.
The midfielder has missed much of the past two months since he tore ankle ligaments during February’s home defeat by Bournemouth, and when it was feared he would miss the remainder of their campaign.
Palace’s struggles have continued in his absence, but McArthur has made significant progress in recovering his fitness and could be available for their FA Cup semi-final with Watford at Wembley on April 24, and for Premier League fixtures before then as they battle to remain above the bottom three.
“It’s a slow injury and it’s taken its time to heal but the target is for me to be back in three weeks,” the Scotland international told Palace’s official club website.
“I think it’s going to be tight, we’re trying to push it as much as we can but it’s got to be controlled as well.”
Palace’s loss to Bournemouth was their fifth in succession and though they have progressed to the final four of the cup, their run of having not won in the league since December 19 has continued, leaving them at risk of eventually joining the bottom three.
Manager Alan Pardew has targeted two victories before they face Watford to secure safety, and McArthur added: “Obviously it’s been a disappointing run of results but it’s about trying to stay positive and believe that we’re a good enough team.
“It’s all about that one win and if we get that win it’ll take all the pressure off. The game at West Ham is our next chance to do that, and it will suit us.
“No one will expect us to go there and win and it’s a great opportunity for us to turn the season around.”