Thursday 20 September 2018

Roy Hodgson: Injuries are taking their toll on Crystal Palace squad

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are undefeated in the Premier League and boast 19 victories
Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are undefeated in the Premier League and boast 19 victories

Roy Hodgson has conceded Crystal Palace are "massively stretched" as they prepare to visit Southampton.

On Sunday they became only the second Premier League team this season to take points from Manchester City when they held the leaders to a 0-0 draw, but they also lost Scott Dann and Jason Puncheon to injury.

Dann's absence is particularly damaging at a time when fellow defenders Mamadou Sakho and Joel Ward are also unfit and - against City - it led to full-back Martin Kelly playing in central defence.

Tuesday's fixture at Southampton represents their third in six days and, while they hope James McArthur and Ruben Loftus-Cheek will again be fit, their hosts will have had an additional day's rest for only their second match in a week.

"We're massively stretched," said the 70-year-old. "Not just at the moment: going forward.

"Sakho's likely to be out for a few weeks to come with a quite serious injury, Joel Ward is still recovering, and there's no sign of him recovering in the next few days, and then we've lost Scott Dann, we've lost Jason Puncheon.

"I'm afraid we've stretched our resources to the absolute limit. That's why it was very nice to see three players who've not had many chances, Jaido Riedewald, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Patrick van Aanholt come in and do as well as they did (against City).

"We will recover one or two players who were unable to play, before the Southampton game.

"Scott Dann's injury doesn't look good, that's for sure. It's a serious knee injury. How serious it'll turn out to be we'll have to wait and see."

There had been suggestions loanee Fosu-Mensah could return to parent club Manchester United, but Hodgson insisted he expects the promising defender to stay. He is also yet to explore whether a further defender will be recruited to cover their growing injury list.

"I don't know anything about that: we're very happy with Tim Fosu-Mensah so I don't know where that story's come from," said Hodgson, who had previously wished to prioritise signing a new goalkeeper, striker and midfielder.

"We don't have unlimited resources, so the subject of buying a centre-back's never come up, because we weren't expecting both Mamadou Sakho and Scott Dann to be out for long periods. Who knows now?

"There'll be discussions; football's an ever-revolving subject. It's not something we've contemplated up to now."

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