Roy Hodgson rues lengthy Crystal Palace injury list
By Alice Piper
Last Updated: 23/02/18 4:34pm
Roy Hodgson insists Crystal Palace are fully aware of the relegation battle they find themselves in as he revealed the squad's lengthy injury list has forced him into making "drastic" changes.
Palace sit 15th in the Premier League and face a growing dilemma as they prepare to host Tottenham on Sunday, live on Sky, after the number of senior players ruled out through injury increased to 12.
The manager labelled the majority of injuries as "long-term" and stressed the difficulties faced with so many key players unavailable for selection.
"What I have in mind, quite frankly, is that day when I have a full Palace squad to choose from - the same sort of squad I was choosing from in the months of October and November - I'm looking forward to that day," Hodgson said.
"At the moment, as far as I'm concerned, it's a question of trying to get through the games until I can feel that I have a team that perhaps is a little bit more relative or a bit more of a Palace team that we had a couple of months ago.
"At the moment, we're missing that enormously.
"The changes are quite drastic.
"No-one is back and more are gone. I have to take a list these days of players otherwise I forget them.
"There are 12 senior players injured."
The boss confirmed Wilfried Zaha is "well ahead" of schedule with his recovery from a knee injury, as he gave an update on the small number of players likely to return before next month's international break.
"It's a very, very different team for me at the moment and, in terms of getting players back, the only two that we will get back within the next week or two are [Jeffrey] Schlupp and [Martin] Kelly," he said.
"Possibly [Joel] Ward and possibly [Mamadou] Sakho too, but the others are still long term and we'll have to wait possibly until after the international break."
Just one point above the drop zone, Palace are looking to break away from a heavily-congested group at the bottom of the table.
Only five points separate 18th-placed Southampton and Bournemouth in 10th spot, with the fight to avoid relegation from the top-flight the tightest it has ever been at this stage of a season.
"It feels like a relegation battle, because that's what it is," said Hodgson.
"We're all aware that from one game to the next you can change positions and get closer to the middle of the table, or get closer to the bottom of the table.
"I think that, in the 11 games that we have still to play, there's still going to be quite a lot of twists and turns and people going up ladders and down snakes because that's the nature of the league at this moment in time."
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