Opposition View: Crystal Palace

By SFC Media Fri 15 Sep Crystal Palace v Saints
Photo by Reuters

New Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson is not underestimating the importance of tomorrow’s game against Southampton as he returns to the Premier League after a five-year absence.

The 70-year-old is readying himself for his first game back in management since England’s shock 2-1 defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016.

After hosting the Saints at Selhurst Park tomorrow, Palace’s next three league games will see them face Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.

“There’s no doubt in the players’ minds about the importance of this game, and how much it would be a good one to win,” he said.

“It’s up to the 11 who are selected to show that on the field of play.”

Hodgson is set to be without key man Wilfried Zaha, sidelined since the opening day of the season, but confirmed James Tomkins and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are available again after injury.

Long-term casualties Mamadou Sakho and Pape Souare came through an under-23 game unscathed on Monday, and could return to the first-team squad.

But Hodgson hinted he won’t make wholesale changes after Palace played well in defeat at Burnley last time out.

“To some extent in this early period, I have stuck with what I’ve already seen and can analyse,” he added.

"I was heartened by what I saw on the TV in the Burnley game last weekend.

“I saw a team which I thought dominated the game and defended well, so the least I can hope for is that we can reproduce that form tomorrow.”