Crystal Palace captain Joel Ward is set for a spell on the sidelines but the defender’s absence has been offset by the imminent return of Ebere Eze.
Ward was forced off after little more than half-an-hour of the Eagles’ 2-2 draw against Manchester City and must be replaced for Thursday’s home Premier League clash against Brighton.
Boss Roy Hodgson did not offer details but told a press conference: “Joel Ward, as I think everyone knows, picked up an injury, unfortunately, last weekend. He’s had a scan, so we will be missing him for a while. So that is a new injury concern.”
Eighteen-year-old David Ozoh impressed off the bench and could get the chance to continue in the side, while Eze, who ended a three-week lay off with an 89th-minute cameo against City, is pushing to reclaim his place in the starting XI.
“The ones who have been injured are making good progress. Ebere Eze is coming on very well. He is on the cusp, really, and it’s a decision we will have to make over the course of the next few hours (on Wednesday).
“We have had a real (fitness) boost over the last couple of weeks with the emergence of a couple of younger players.
“When given the chance to get on the field, which has happened with the amount of injuries, they have also given us great hope and belief that the future is going to be bright for the club and the team.
“But of course, the immediate future is most concerning and tomorrow night we want to get back to winning ways if we can.”
Palace have not won since November 4, taking just two points from the last 18 on offer, but goalkeeper Dean Henderson was thrilled to help bank a point against City, playing his part with a series of important saves.
Now the 26-year-old is eager to deliver three points when he lines up in front of the home fans at Selhurst Park for the first time.
“It’s been a long year for me, so I’m just delighted to put on the Palace colours. Thanks to all the fans for supporting me,” he told the club’s official website.
“There’s one place to get sharp and that’s in the Etihad goalmouth! It’s nice to get a few saves in there. Now we’re at home. We’ve got to attack the game and have a right go at them (Brighton).
“Obviously, we know they’re a good team, but it’s a derby and the lads will be right up for it. Hopefully the atmosphere can pull us through. We’ve had some tough results, but we’ve just got to keep going and keep fighting for each other.”