Nya Kirby was one of those, with the midfielder being handed his first-team debut on the right-hand side of midfield. "He did quite well," Hodgson said. "He has waited a long time. And he’s another one who hasn’t really played any first-team football; I’m not certain he has ever appeared in a competitive match during my time. So another bonus."
In fact, Hodgson was pleased with the everyone who played a role at the Vitality stadium: "There were lots of bonuses for me tonight," he added. "I thought we showed a lot of grit. I thought the shape of the team, that is normally quite good, was good again. But we didn’t create enough goal chances and as a result the best we could hope for was 0-0."
A huge positive for the Eagles was the return of Mamadou Sakho, with hopes now that the injury-hit 2019-20 season is now firmly behind him.
"Mamadou hasn’t really played since Aston Villa. He had been out a long time before that and then got injured again, so he played very little football in the last season for us," Hodgson said.
"He played 30 minutes tonight – well 45 minutes with the penalty shootout; he was on the pitch for a long time tonight after doing two training sessions, which is quite incredible.
"The medical staff were very reticent to let him play, they thought it was too soon and it wasn’t a good idea. But I spoke to him, and he thought that as long as he wasn’t thrown into the deep end, as it were, he could play a part in the game. He did and that’s another bonus for me."