Roy Hodgson has confirmed that Crystal Palace will be without captain and vice-captain Scott Dann and Jason Puncheon for the rest of the season after the pair were stretchered off in the New Year's Eve draw at home to Manchester City.
Palace may have been the first outfit in 19 Premier League attempts to rebuff Pep Guardiola's side but the point came at a cost as the pair both suffered cruciate ligament injuries and could also miss the start of next season.
“It’s very bad news, both have cruciate knee ligament injuries - Dann has got a meniscus injury to his anterior cruciate and Jason has got a rupture in his posterior cruciate," explained Hodgson after Palace's 2-1 victory against Southampton on Tuesday. "Both will be seeing specialists and having operations when the swelling goes down, and we won’t see anything of those players for the rest of our season, and it’s going to be hard for them to be ready for the start of next season because it’s a serious injury."
In the absence of Puncheon there may be more be playing time for Bakary Sako, who has started just one league game this season.
Palace may look to James Tomkins and Mamadou Sahko as their centre-back pairing going forward amid reports of a £16 million bid for Lille defender Ibrahim Amadou.
Hodgson was quick to salute the members of his squad who haven't been playing much in recent weeks but remained patient.
The former England manager said: "We know there’s character in the team and determination, we’ve been unlucky with injuries, not least of all on Sunday, but the ones that have come in have immediately stepped up to the plate, such as (Patrick) Van Aanholt, (Jairo) Riedewald, Bakary Sako and the goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey who has had to wait a while for a chance.
“When they’ve come in they’ve shown they’ve taken on board what the players that were playing before them were doing and filled in how we’ve like and helped us to get some good results.”