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First Team

Hodgson hopeful of centre-back returns, as defensive stocks depleted

4 December 2019

Roy Hodgson is hopeful of a possible return of centre-back pairing Scott Dann and Gary Cahill, in light of Mamadou Sakho's impending suspension following his red card as well as the injury of Patrick van Aanholt against AFC Bouremouth on Tuesday night.

Defensively, Hodgson has been relatively blessed with options up until the last week. But with Sakho's suspension for the upcoming trip to bottom of the league Watford on Saturday, and a spate of injuries including a lengthy lay-off for Joel Ward - Hodgson's defensive options are at risk of being severly depleted.

With matches coming thick and fast - the 72-year old manager is hopeful of some positive news, with Thursday being earmarked for realistic updates.

Hodgson was asked for an update on Scott Dann following his 59th minute removal at Burnley on Saturday, as he deputised for the absent Gary Cahill - whose knee injury is being monitored.  Speaking after the win over Bournemouth, Hodgson said: "It’s a very short turnaround between Saturday and Tuesday. Scott's ankle is still swollen so he was still waiting for some sort of scan on that."

As for Cahill, the Palace boss said: "Gary has had a chance [to train] and will get a chance tomorrow to try it out a little bit before we train on Thursday. I’m certainly not writing either of those two off at the moment and I’m hoping that they’ll recover in time. I won’t know until Thursday so I can’t [provide] a serious update."

Hodgson is also awaiting an update of Van Aanholt's injury, with the Dutchman being taken off in the 29th minute last night at Selhurst Park. He said: "The only positive from that is he came off very early - the moment he felt something. He didn’t think he’d actually torn in away way but he definitely felt something in the hamstring, and came off straight away.

"He’ll have treatment of course tomorrow and on Thursday, he’ll probably have a scan. We just have to wait and hope we can get him back quickly. But he certainly wasn’t under the impression himself that ‘that’s me out for a number of weeks’. But until we’ve had the scan, until the doctor’s had a really good chance to have a look at him we won’t know. Again, Thursday will tell me more."

Hodgson also heaped praise on fill-in centre-back Cheikhou Kouyate, who slotted in admirably alongside James Tomkins, contributing to yet another Palace clean-sheet. Hodgson said of the Senegalese midfielder, who played a large part of the recent AFCON tournament at centre-back, "I thought he was outstanding and he did a magnificent job."

Stay tuned to on Thursday, as Hodgson updates the media ahead of the trip to Vicarage Road. The press conference is not being live streamed on Palace TV, but it will be uploaded for viewing on demand on Thursday night.

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