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Thursday 19 July 2018

Hodgson sees Palace rivalry with Brighton as a positive which focuses attention

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson thinks games against Brighton focus attention
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson thinks games against Brighton focus attention

Roy Hodgson believes Crystal Palace's modern-day rivalry with Brighton is a positive for both clubs.

On Monday Palace visit their rivals in the third round of the FA Cup, less than two months after the Premier League fixture - also at the Amex Stadium - in which the hosts accused a minority of the visiting fans of "disorder".

Their Championship play-off semi-finals of 2013 were also heated affairs, and intensified that rivalry over 50 years after Hodgson visited Selhurst Park as a supporter when no such enmity existed.

Partly because of the 46 miles which separate them, the Palace-Brighton rivalry is one that continues to puzzle outsiders. However a further layer could regardless be added to it when it becomes the first competitive fixture in English football in which Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology will be tested.

"It's quite good to have a match hyped up as being a particular derby, of particular importance to the fans," said Hodgson, 70.

"That's good for football and good for the club, as long as you don't get incidents, or hooliganism, and all the things that can happen around a football match that we all deplore.

"It focuses people's attention. We have a lot of derbies in a way, but they don't get hyped up as derbies in the same way as Tottenham and West Ham did, or between Arsenal and Tottenham, for example.

"When we play Chelsea, for example, it's a derby, but people don't hype it up in the same way.

"I don't remember it (from when I was a Palace supporter). I'm going back to the 1960s. I left England in the early 1970s, so I'm thinking more through the 50s and 60s when I was a true supporter, coming and standing on the terraces.

"Someone might prove me wrong here, say 'blimey, in 1959 Palace-Brighton was a massive game' - well I don't remember it."

Hodgson, who will name a weakened XI owing to a busy schedule and injuries to Scott Dann, Mamadou Sakho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, recently recruited former West Brom colleague Dean Kiely as Palace's goalkeeping coach.

Wayne Hennessey has rediscovered his form and Julian Speroni remains fit, but the former England boss still hopes to sign a further goalkeeper.

"We only have the two goalkeepers so it would be good if we can bring in a third," Hodgson said. "That has been on our radar since day one, once I realised we did not have our full quota of goalkeepers."

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