Boss wants Palace to keep up with fellow strugglers

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson before the English Premier League match against Bournemouth at Selhurst Park, London on Dec 2, 2017. The game ended 2-2.
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson before the English Premier League match against Bournemouth at Selhurst Park, London on Dec 2, 2017. The game ended 2-2.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Crystal Palace must maintain their new-found momentum to keep up with their rivals if they are to move out of the English Premier League's relegation zone, manager Roy Hodgson said ahead of today's trip to Leicester.

Palace are 18th in the league with 14 points after three wins, five draws and nine defeats. But they are unbeaten in six games after a difficult start to the season that saw Hodgson replace Frank de Boer after four straight losses in the league.

With games against Arsenal and runaway leaders Manchester City coming up, Hodgson stressed the importance of keeping up with teams immediately above them.

"We are closer to the pack and that's the important thing," he told a news conference. "There is going to be a pack of teams for a period of time going forward in and around that third (from bottom) spot.

"Now we have ourselves within three to four points of that pack, it's important we stay with them. We can only hope to continue with what we've achieved so far. We aren't the finished article."

Palace's last-gasp 2-1 victory over Watford lifted them off bottom of the table for only the second time since Hodgson took charge of the club in September.

They were also helped by the fact that relegation-threatened West Ham and Swansea failed to win in midweek.

Mamadou Sakho will miss the Leicester game with a muscle injury, while fellow defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah is in doubt after picking up a hamstring injury on Tuesday. Centre-back Joel Ward is also out with a groin injury.

Leicester are eighth in the table with 26 points after seven wins, five draws and five defeats and are on a four-game winning run in the league.

Defender Harry Maguire believes that the Foxes are going into the game on a high.

He said: "We go into every game thinking we can get the three points. We'll try and make it five on the bounce on Saturday."

REUTERS


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2017, with the headline 'Boss wants Palace to keep up with fellow strugglers'. Print Edition | Subscribe