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How Crystal Palace could line up on their first game back

Sports Mole looks at how Crystal Palace could line up for their first match back after lockdown, when they are expected to face Bournemouth.

Having recorded three successive wins in the Premier League, there were few people more disappointed with the enforced break than Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson.

Not only had the Eagles realistically ensured that they would retain their top-flight status, they had also put themselves in contention for a place in Europe.

Nevertheless, while the momentum of a treble of victories and clean sheets has been lost, Hodgson will feel that there is little pressure on his side heading into the run-in.

Ahead of a trip to Bournemouth between June 19 and June 21, Sports Mole predicts how Palace could line up for the encounter at the Vitality Stadium.


Doubtful: Mamadou Sakho (thigh)

> Click here for Palace's latest injury and suspension news ahead of this match

For their most recent success against Watford, Hodgson tinkered with the make-up of his side, using Jordan Ayew down the right and leaving Luka Milivojevic on the substitutes' bench.

Regarding the former, that could remain the case against the Cherries, with Christian Benteke being preferred in a central role after his return to form.

However, it would come as a surprise if Milivojevic was not restored to the first XI, potentially at the expense of either James McCarthy or Cheikhou Kouyate.

As far as the backline is concerned, Mamdou Sakho should be back in contention after a thigh injury which has kept him sidelined since New Year.

That said, only fitness issues will stop Hodgson from making changes to his current backline, leaving Scott Dann and Gary Cahill to continue their partnership in the middle.

Of those pushing for a recall, Max Meyer and Andros Townsend may have the best chance of earning a place in the team.

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Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha reacts on March 7, 2020
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