02 Dec Mamadou Sakho set to make second start of the season for Palace
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has no concerns over Mamadou Sakho’s fitness, with the centre-back set to return to the starting line-up for Tuesday’s visit of Bournemouth.
The Eagles are on the verge of a defensive injury crisis with Joel Ward (knee), Scott Dann (ankle) and Gary Cahill (knee) ruled out of the midweek Premier League clash.
Dann started Saturday’s 2-0 win at Burnley but was forced off in the second half which allowed Sakho to make his first appearance in over two months for Palace.
A knee injury and then a muscle problem had hampered his start to the campaign, but the former Liverpool ace will hope to kick on again at Selhurst Park when he makes just his second start of the season against the Cherries.
“Mamadou Sakho is good,” Hodgson said. “He’s been fit to play for a period but of course we were blessed at centre-back with good performances from Gary Cahill and James Tomkins.
“He’s had to wait for his chance, but he has played a game for the Under-23s, played on Saturday for a considerable period in the second half, so I have no fears about his fitness.
“We hope it’s not a ligament damage issue (for Dann). We hope it’s a kick, but of course it’s far too soon and too close to the game for him to recover.
“He’ll miss tomorrow’s game, as will Gary. We hope to recover the pair of them for the game at the weekend (away to Watford).”
Tuesday’s fixture at Selhurst Park will see 72-year-old Hodgson go up against Eddie Howe, who is 30 years his junior.
Bournemouth’s manager has been linked with other clubs lately, with Arsenal searching for Unai Emery’s replacement and Everton boss Marco Silva under pressure.
And while Hodgson was quick to point out he was not trying to prise Howe away from the south coast outfit, he did admit the 42-year-old is capable of taking charge of one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League.
He added: “I think his record is really very good and what he has done at Bournemouth is quite exceptional.
“Eddie has put together a very good team, they play excellent football and they are very well organised, so all the things you would want to see for your team he has produced for the Bournemouth owners and the fans.
“I would be very surprised if his name isn’t linked with other jobs when they come up.
“And he may find himself in the same position as Wilfried Zaha and many others that it might not be as easy for him to leave Bournemouth because I don’t think the Bournemouth people would be delighted to see him go.
“The fact there are people out there who look at him and what he does and say ‘this is a good manager and might be someone we would like’ does not surprise me one bit.”