MX23RW : Monday, October 22 02:04:25

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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