BY ANDREW MCSTEEN
Roy Hodgson has confirmed that key midfielder Jeff Schlupp is available for selection for the Eagles in their Premier League clash tonight against Bournemouth after missing the 1-1 draw with West Ham on Sunday due to personal reasons.
Along with fellow midfielders Eberechi Eze and Cheick Doucoure absent through injury, Hodgson had to move up Chris Richards into the middle of the park on Sunday, but with Schlupp back, it is likely the former Leicester man will go straight into his starting 11 this evening.
“He’s available, it is good news,” said Hodgson. “[It’s] an area where unfortunately we’ve lost two very good players, two important players for us and when you lose two players of the importance of Eze and Doucoure in the same area of the field, it’s going to stretch your squad.”
When asked about a possible return date for Eze, Hodgson could not provide any further updates on the England international.
“Well, nothing’s changed. He still has an ankle injury. He’s pushing hard to get fit as soon as he possibly can. But, as yet, unfortunately he hasn’t turned that corner which will enable him to declare himself fit to train with the team and to play,” said the Croydon-born Hodgson.
“We’re monitoring it on a day-to-day basis. If we’re lucky, it will be much quicker than was predicted and if we are unlucky, it might be longer than predicted. We just don’t know. But, certainly, he’s still very keen to get back as soon as he possibly can and we’ll continue monitoring it on a daily basis.”
And the Palace boss was keen to clarify remarks he made in the press conference following the West Ham draw which hinted at a difference of opinion between the player and the Crystal Palace medical staff.
“I actually treated a press conference as if I was talking to people who’d understand a little bit of humour,” explained Hodgson about his comments (“Eze is seemingly of the opinion that he’s going to get over this opinion very quickly, whereas the medical staff think he’s going to be out for long periods of time”).
“Unfortunately, because everything you say [in a press conference] is taken 100% literally, I shall attempt to be anything other than flippant or humorous and say there is absolutely no disparity between him and the medical team.
“I was trying to make the point how keen he was to get back, but basically it will take the time it takes.
“He understands that and I apologise for the misapprehension or confusion that I may have caused by making a somewhat flippant remark in the press conference.
“I should realise that any attempt to say anything which isn’t manager speak is likely to get you in trouble, so I’ll go back to manager speak.”
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