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Crystal palace faces defensive challenge as Hodgson contemplates Eze’s return

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Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson revealed the club’s defensive woes ahead of Thursday’s clash with Brighton, as club captain Joel Ward faces a significant spell on the sidelines due to injury.

Hodgson, speaking at a pre-match press conference on Wednesday, disclosed that Ward sustained the injury during the recent 2-2 draw against Manchester City, forcing the team to seek a replacement for the upcoming match.

Ward’s absence opens the door for potential changes in the defensive lineup, with teenager David Ozoh, who impressed as a substitute against City, being a strong contender to continue in the starting XI. However, the spotlight is also on Eberechi Eze, who is on the verge of returning to the first team after a three-week absence.

Eze entered the field in the 89th minute during the City game and is now pushing for a spot in the starting lineup.

Speaking about the team’s overall fitness, Hodgson stated, “The ones who have been injured are making good progress,” highlighting Eze’s promising recovery.

The manager emphasized the positive impact of emerging young players, stating that injuries have provided opportunities for them to showcase their potential.

Hodgson acknowledged the importance of the upcoming match, expressing the team’s desire to return to winning ways after a winless streak since November 4, securing only two points out of a possible 18.

The manager stressed the significance of the immediate future and the need to focus on the upcoming fixture against Brighton.

In addition to defensive concerns, the report highlighted goalkeeper Dean Henderson’s pivotal role in securing a point against Premier League champions City.

Henderson, pleased with his performance, expressed gratitude to the fans and looked forward to making his home debut at Selhurst Park.

The 26-year-old goalkeeper emphasized the importance of attacking the game against Brighton and aiming for a positive result.

As Crystal Palace seeks to overcome defensive challenges and end their winless streak, the spotlight remains on Hodgson’s tactical decisions regarding the starting lineup and the potential return of key players like Eze.

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