MX23RW : Monday, March 25 10:49:17

Roy Hodgson challenges misfiring Palace stars to hit goal trail

Wilfried Zaha has scored three of their four league goals so far.

Roy Hodgson wants Crystal Palace to ease the goalscoring burden on Wilfried Zaha — beginning with Monday's match at Bournemouth.

As well as being so influential that Palace consistently struggle to win in his absence, Zaha has also become their main goal threat.

So far this season the winger has scored three of their four Premier League goals.

It is perhaps only the absence of a reliable striker that is preventing Hodgson's team from establishing themselves among the top half of the Premier League, as was most recently demonstrated when they drew 0-0 with Newcastle and lost 2-1 at Watford despite creating multiple chances.

Jordan Ayew will continue to start in the absence of the injured, out-of-form Christian Benteke, and Andros Townsend last week scored twice at West Brom in the Carabao Cup, but Hodgson said: "Wilf's got the lion's share because we haven't scored many.

"But we have created many chances. So it forces one to consistently look back to the misses and the missed opportunities because in the bulk of the games we have played, we had that many chances. It's harrowing to come off the field at 0-0 when you have seen that many chances.

"I believe as long as you are creating those chances and you are getting in those positions the goals will come.

"What you do is make certain the players believe in themselves, they keep working at their game, and they share your belief that if you keep doing this then we will score goals."

If Ayew struggles to capitalise on his chance and Benteke continues to prove ineffective, Hodgson hopes that the returning Connor Wickham will soon provide an alternative option.

The striker has been absent for almost two years after injuring the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and suffering several setbacks over the course of his recovery.

Like Scott Dann, who suffered a similarly serious knee injury in January, Hodgson hopes the striker will feature on October 11 against Dulwich Hamlet, who Palace will play in a friendly in an attempt to help the financially-stricken non-league club to raise funds.

"Connor Wickham completed a full week's training; Scott's actually completed three weeks training with the team so they are definitely getting a lot closer to playing for us," Hodgson said.

"My target would definitely be the Dulwich Hamlet game although that might be pushed back by the sports scientist if he tells me it is too early. But from what I'm seeing in training, I'd like to think that would be a possibility."


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A general shot of a Premier League football ahead of the Premier League clash between Everton and West Ham United at Goodison Park on October 30, 2016
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
6Chelsea30176750331757
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
8Watford30127114244-243
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
11Everton31117134342140
12Bournemouth31115154356-1338
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
16Southampton3079143450-1630
17Burnley3186173559-2430
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914

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