BY SAM SMITH
Roy Hodgson has said that the most frustrating thing about Crystal Palace’s injury crisis is that there are several absentees who play in the same positions.
The Eagles travel to Southampton tomorrow with at least seven of their 23-man squad sidelined through injury.
Hodgson admitted after Palace’s 2-1 win over West Ham on Boxing Day that Andros Townsend and Jeffrey Schlupp will both be out in the long-term.
Christian Benteke suffered a strain on Christmas Day and will be out for “the next few weeks” while Patrick van Aanholt suffered a recurrence of a hamstring problem late on against the Hammers.
Palace also lost Scott Dann, Joel Ward and Gary Cahill – all defenders – before Christmas. Cheikhou Kouyate has been playing with an injury.
Hodgson said: “I think everyone connected to Crystal Palace, when they see the two teams with the options we have got in our squad and the options in the other, they see we need to give those boys out there a bit more help.
“We need to find some way of getting some players in which will swell the numbers and increase the competition.
“Our misfortune around injuries is that they have all come in the same area. They’ve not been spread out – one here and one there. At one stage we had a whole back four out injured.
“We’ve got Schlupp and Townsend out who are the two players in the dressing room who play in the same position that Max Meyer played today – right-sided forward or winger, whatever you want to call it. Both are now injured long-term.
“That’s where it has hurt us the most. Most of the time when you have an injury, you can just play the other guy. Benteke going down on Christmas Day was a major blow.
“We’re going through a tough run with injuries but there was a time when I felt we had a really strong squad, when I was wondering ‘which of these centre backs can I leave out?’. I would have to tell someone that there was no place for them in the squad, let alone no place in the team.”
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