Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has revealed that he is pleased with the development of the injured Scott Dann, with the defender expected to be sidelined for another month.
The former Blackburn Rovers man has been ruled out since New Year's Eve, when he picked up a serious injury during Palace's 0-0 draw against Manchester City at Selhurst Park.
The 31-year-old trained separately from the first-team squad during their pre-season tour where Hodgson was left feeling reassured in his fight with injury.
Quoted by football.london, the former Liverpool and England manager spoke openly in his pre-match press conference for his side's clash with Southampton on Saturday including more specific details about Dann's progression.
"He’s not very close. He won’t be playing in the Under-23 games in the coming weeks," he said, speaking ahead of Palace's match with Southampton.
"Scott is making excellent progress, but it was a serious injury and he is not due to be back before the end of September, the start of October. If he was to come back earlier, which is a possibility because I know the sports science people are happy, that would be a bonus.
"I would have to wait until they free him to join us, but then when he joins us, he will have been out for eight months and he will need time and won’t be going straight into any first team games."
He added: "There aren't many teams with more than four centre-halves in their squad. You have to be a big team to carry five centre-halves. Three senior goalkeepers, and five central defenders, that's eight of your 25 gone, just in two positions."