Roy Hodgson turns his attention to cup action this weekend with a trip to Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday evening but following a hectic Christmas programme the third round tie is going to see him take the opportunity to keep an eye on the forthcoming league action.
Last weekend both Jason Puncheon and Scott Dann had to leave the match with knee injuries and the manager knows those two will be long term casualties and he will once again not have Mamadou Sakho, Joel Ward and Ruben Loftus-Cheek available for selection.
“I am not certain that Jason will need surgery but he will need his knee in a brace for a period of seven months and we are waiting on the swelling going down on Scott Dann’s knee and then the surgeon will decide when the right moment is for surgery.
"Those that have missed recent games will not be back for Monday’s game and then on top of that we have other knocks which have been taken over the two games we had in the space of a couple of days. I will be very limited in my choice of players for the game at Brighton simply because it has come on us very quickly.
“I have to be careful with a view to the league matches that will follow but I am still hoping that we have a strong and very competitive team available because I am certainly not looking to write off a competition that we are taking part in.
Hodgson’s philosophy as he prepares his team line up for the game is that he won't be resting players but instead his consideration must be that if he was to pick a player who is not quite 100% ready could that mean he may not be available a week later. This does though give other members of his squad the opportunity to take part in the action down on the south coast.
“There are one or two players who in their eyes think they should be in the team and this will be a great opportunity for them to stake their claim because the player they are replacing is injured and can’t play,” Hodgson added as he continues to ponder the eleven that will start the club’s FA Cup action this season."