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Roy Hodgson set to clock up 200th game in charge of Crystal Palace – but exit looks more likely than ever

Roy Hodgson looks set to take charge of his 200th game as Crystal Palace manager when they face Chelsea on Monday – but there is major doubt that he will get to add to that tally.

The 76-year-old oversaw Palace’s 4-1 defeat against Brighton last Saturday, their heaviest loss to their arch rivals since a 5-0 thumping in the old Third Division in January 1956.

The Eagles were 3-0 down by the break but the most gut-wrenching aspect for Hodgson was seeing Michael Olise subbed on at half-time and withdrawn nine minutes later after tweaking his hamstring.

The medical team cleared the 22-year-old to play a half of football after coming off against Sheffield United just four days earlier, but the former French U21 international’s season, already plagued by injury, has now seen him ruled out for a minimum of two months.

Marc Guehi also suffered a hyper-extended knee injury during the clash at The Amex but the centre-back is expected to only miss between two to three weeks.

Cheick Doucoure will not feature again this season. He had Achilles tendon surgery following the 2-1 defeat at Luton in November.

With Eberechi Eze also set for a sideline spell – thought to be up to three weeks out – with the hamstring injury he picked up against the Blades, Hodgson will be tasked with accruing Premier League points without his four best players.

Palace is not a very attractive proposition right now for any out of work manager eyeing a job in the Premier League.

Former Forest and Swansea boss Steve Cooper and Julen Lopetegui, most recently in work at Wolves, have both dismissed the chance at the moment of taking charge of the South London club, who are in their 10th successive top-flight campaign.

Ipswich boss Kieran McKenna is a candidate being seriously considered by Palace’s hierarchy but getting him out of the Championship high-flyers would come at a price.

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna applauds the fans following the Sky Bet Championship match at Deepdale, Preston. Picture date: Saturday February 3, 2024.

It is also unclear whether the 37-year-old would leave the Tractor Boys midway through the season when they are battling for promotion to the Premier League.

Former Eintracht Frankfurt boss Oliver Glasner is another name who has been mentioned in dispatches in recent weeks.

Despite the Eagles sounding out potential managers to come in mid-season to replace Hodgson, the former England and Fulham boss, at the time of our paper going to press, will be in place for the visit of Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

Hodgson took training on Tuesday and Wednesday as he looks to find a remedy for Palace’s injury problems but his options took a further blow on Monday night when Jesurun Rak-Sakyi – a player who had won the manager’s trust this season – was taken off early in his return in a U21 game.

Crystal Palace v Fulham Premier League, Selhurst Park, 23 September 2023
Picture : Keith Gillard

Brighton fans sang “We want you to stay” to Hodgson while Palace fans called for him to go – it’s an undignified end to a highly-distinguished career in the game.

“My years of management have given me resilience to cope with that,” said Hodgson. “Taunts from away supporters are part and parcel of our lives.

“At the moment, our fans aren’t very happy with everything that is happening at the club, and they are making their feelings known as well.

“But I signed up to be the manager and coach of this football club and I’ve got the strength, resilience and determination to see things through. I’m certainly not going to be cowed by that type of thing.”

Palace’s season has been a mess.

They were the top Premier League spenders in the January transfer window with the additions of Blackburn midfielder Adam Wharton and Daniel Munoz from Genk, but attack was the critical position which needed addressing.

The club failed to replace Wilfried Zaha in the summer, placing the burden and expectation on Matheus Franca, a 19-year-old who had just 19 starts in professional football before heading to a new country.

Jeffrey Schlupp and Jordan Ayew – seen more as squad players towards the end of last season – have had to start in the wide areas when available.

Joachim Andersen and Dean Henderson exchanged words up close with the away fans at Brighton last weekend – it showed how high tensions are at the football club.

Palace base their managerial sackings around a points-per-game basis with, on average, a total of 38 enough to keep a team in the top flight. They have 24 points after 23 games – so require 14 from their final 15 fixtures.

But with four of the six teams below Palace in the table picking up points last week, a defeat against Chelsea could see Palace drop deeper into peril.

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