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Roy Hodgson not concerned by Crystal Palace’s busy finish to season

The Eagles could make changes on the south coast due to the quick turnaround.


Roy Hodgson is not worried by a hectic finish to the season (Peter Powell/PA)

Roy Hodgson is not worried by a hectic finish to the season (Peter Powell/PA)

Roy Hodgson is not worried by a hectic finish to the season (Peter Powell/PA)

Roy Hodgson has no complaints over Crystal Palace’s busy end to the season and expects another quick start away to Southampton on Tuesday.

The Eagles scored after 66 seconds at Sheffield United last weekend to register a 2-0 victory which moved them onto 41 points in the Premier League.

It was the start of a two-week spell where they will play five times, but Hodgson has no gripes with this clash being pencilled in days after a lengthy trip to Yorkshire following the original meeting with Saints on April 17 being rearranged.

He said: “I won’t dare call it a pile up, it’s just an extra midweek fixture and comes about because of the FA Cup.

“Getting to the semi-final, as Southampton did, meant they couldn’t play that day and now we play the game in midweek.

“I have no qualms or complaints about that and I don’t see the players showing any signs of ‘this will be tough because we’re tired’, I don’t see that at all. We will be as tonic as we were at the start of the game against Sheffield United.”

The short recovery time could see Hodgson make changes, but they will not be wholesale on the south coast where Eagles top goalscorer Wilfried Zaha could set a new individual best for a campaign if he can add another to his tally having found the net 10 times already this term.

“We will have to think about the quick turnaround and there might be players we will need to assess to check if playing in another game so close to the last one is a good idea or not,” the 73-year-old noted.

“But I don’t intend to make wholesale changes. We want to finish the season well and I’m anxious to keep putting what I think is the best team I can put out.”

Hodgson revealed Nathan Ferguson is unlikely to feature during the final two weeks of the season despite recovering from a thigh injury to resume first-team training.

Mamadou Sakho (thigh), James McArthur (calf) and Connor Wickham (muscle) are also not in contention.

On ex-West Brom defender Ferguson, Hodgson insisted: “To get to the stage he is now with it so close to an end and the chance to do a really good pre-season and make certain he is 100 per cent fit when the next season starts, I think it would be very foolish to throw him in and risk something happening which would disturb that possibility of a good pre-season.”

The former England boss also dodged more questions over his future, with his contract up in the summer and no hint over if this will be his last ever campaign in management.

Hodgson added: “I don’t think any information I impart will be world-shattering anyway for the first part and secondly, as I have said all along, I want to finish this season well and we don’t in any way want do anything that will affect our chances of playing and doing well in the final games.

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“Let’s get those games done and then there is plenty of time to give answers to any particular questions I would get, but I am not prepared to do it at this moment in time because there are more important things on the horizon for me. Namely Southampton, followed by the visit of Aston Villa this weekend.”

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