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Roy Hodgson admits defensive injuries causing concern

Roy Hodgson admits defensive injuries causing concern
© Reuters
The Eagles will be without a number of players against Watford on Saturday.

Roy Hodgson admits Crystal Palace have been forced to their stretched resources in defence ahead of Saturday's clash with Watford.

The Palace manager will make a late call on the fitness of Scott Dann and Gary Cahill, with Mamadou Sakho suspended and Joel Ward, Patrick Van Aanholt and midfielder Max Meyer also ruled out.

Hodgson remains confident the Eagles will manage and praised Cheikhou Kouyate for his performance in a makeshift defensive partnership with James Tomkins after Sakho's dismissal against Bournemouth on Tuesday.

The Eagles boss said: "You've got to cope. I'm more concerned in some ways about the injuries to Ward and to Patrick Van Aanholt because that does involve an awful lot of shifting around of players.

"And at centre-back if we lose so many as we had on Tuesday night, there was still Cheik Kouyate to go back there and do an excellent job that he so does so often for Senegal.

"He's capable of playing both positions. Because we have so many centre-backs, we use him in midfield but that doesn't mean to say he's not a very competent centre-back."

Hodgson admitted there was no timescale for Van Aanholt's return following a hamstring tear, while Ward could be missing for a further six weeks.

Watford are currently on their third manager of the season after interim head coach, and former Palace midfielder, Hayden Mullins took over following the sacking of Quique Sanchez Flores.

The Hornets suffered a club-record 11th consecutive home league loss when beaten by Burnley before the international break but Hodgson does not expect the match to be straightforward.

When asked whether it was a good time to play them, the Palace manager said: "Not particularly, I think Watford is a tough game for us.

"It's one of those sort of semi-derbies if you like where there's always a little bit more of an edge to the game.

"Whenever we play them we're aware that we're in for a tough battle, for a tough fight and I don't think the fact that they've now changed their manager is going to change much at all."

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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool23221054153967
2Manchester CityMan City24163565273851
3Leicester CityLeicester24153652242848
4Chelsea2412484132940
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd249783629734
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs249783832634
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2481063532334
8Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd248972523233
9Southampton2494113142-1131
10Arsenal2461263234-230
11Crystal Palace247982228-630
12Everton2486102835-730
13Burnley2493122838-1030
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2486102436-1230
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2467112734-725
16Aston Villa2474133145-1425
17West Ham UnitedWest Ham2365122738-1123
18Bournemouth2465132337-1423
19Watford2458112136-1523
20Norwich CityNorwich2445152447-2317

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