BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed that Connor Wickham will start in Sunday’s FA Cup tie at Derby County – and reckons he has no option but to make major changes to his starting line up.
The Eagles have nine senior players injured with Mamadou Sakho damaging his hamstring in yesterday’s 1-1 draw at Norwich City.
Wickham came off the bench to equalise for the Eagles – VAR ruling that he was onside as he converted Wilfried Zaha’s cross.
“He has been very unlucky with injuries,” said Hodgson. “It has been injury after injury and for a large percentage of my time at the club he has not been available.
“Once or twice he has worked hard to get fit and has looked fit enough to play, but then he has gone into an FA Cup, League Cup or even sometimes an U23 game to get match fit and he gets injured again.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him play Sunday. Some of these boys definitely do need a rest – there is no question about that.
“It would be nice to say ‘no problem – we’ll put them all out there again’ but I’ve got to be a little bit careful. I’m certain if I let my medical department pick the team there won’t be many senior players playing. It will be a little bit of a fight, in that respect.
“I’ve got to listen to what they say. I can’t afford, with our lack of full-backs at the moment, for anything to happen to people like Martin Kelly or Jairo Riedewald because quite frankly there isn’t anybody else who can come in and do that job.”
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