After Monday’s closely fought FA Cup derby defeat against Brighton and Hove Albion, Crystal Palace return to league action this Saturday with Burnley the visitors to Selhurst Park.
Since his arrival in September, Roy Hodgson has undoubtably turned around the Eagles fortunes. In their last ten league matches, Palace have lost just once, as well beating third place Chelsea and drawing to runaway leaders Manchester City on New Years Eve under their latest boss.
Hodgson keen to bolster ranks as he eyes an active transfer window
Despite the improvement from the current players at his disposal, Hodgson is keen to add to his squad during the January transfer window, with the list of injuries growing longer with every game played.
“We only have two goalkeepers and one out-and-out centre forward,” Hodgson said ahead of the Burnley clash. “You do not have to be a rocket scientist to work out you need more players in those important areas of the field. We have been thinking about that since I came in September.”
Although some positions are in desperate need of reinforcement, Hodgson believes that the quality of any incoming players is the most important factor.
“I would not like to be tied down to a number. We need people in, there is no question of that. We do not want to bring people in for the sake of bringing people in. We want people we believe will be better in the months ahead.” Two familiar faces to viewers of the Premier League that have been linked with the Eagles are West Ham’s Diafra Sakho and Everton’s Oumar Niasse thus far.
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Excellent Burnley close in on top four finish
The is no doubt that Burnley boss Sean Dyche will have been delighted with his squad’s performance so far this season, with the Clarets currently seventh in the table, just seven points off the top four. After a last minute defeat to Liverpool, and draws with Huddersfield Town and Manchester United before that, Dyche will be hoping his side can get back to winning ways on Saturday.
“We’ve played some pretty big teams, and we’ve been unfortunate, I feel, not to have more rewards,” Dyche said in the lead up to this weekend’s game. “We could easily have come out of that with two, three or five more points.”
“I don’t want to be too greedy over the season but I have been delighted with the group and how they have adapted to the challenge of losing some players and now we want to keep moving forwards.” Speaking about Crystal Palace, Dyche was full of praise for the work done so far by Roy Hodgson. “You look at the players they have and they are a better side than results in the early part of the season showed, and that’s been proved by Roy (Hodgson) and his staff. He seems to have simplified things and they have players who are organised and willing to work, so we know it’s another tough challenge for us.”
Crystal Palace will be without both Andros Townsend and Jeffrey Schlupp, both picked up injuries during Monday’s defeat to Brighton.
Hodgson will be hoping Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke will be available after niggling injuries, however centre backs Mamadou Sakho and Scott Dann, along with Jason Puncheon, will still be missing from the squad.
For the visitors, striker Chris Wood and full back Stephen Ward won’t be available, however new signing Georges-Kevin Nkoudou will be involve with his new squad for the first time since signing on loan for the rest of the season from Tottenham Hotspur.