Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson will assess the fitness of two unnamed players before naming his team to take on the Premier League champions Manchester City on Saturday evening.
The Eagles head into the clash with Pep Guardiola’s men off the back of a fine win at West Ham United last time out, a victory which saw them fly into the top six in the early season table.
Staying there after Saturday will be difficult, as it could mean Palace have to beat the champions, a task that is never easy for any side, especially with City likely to be reeling after slipping up against Wolves before the international break.
Hodgson’s side have already won four of their first eight matches this term, and if the Eagles make that five from nine, they will actually go above their opponents.
However the Palace boss was cautious with his words about two mystery players, who he said he is assessing ahead of the match, while confirming he would be without two others.
“There are a couple of players we’re assessing in morning largely due to today’s [training] session. The two players who are missing are Mamadou Sakho and Connor Wickham, otherwise we’re okay.” The Eagles official website quote him as saying.
The fact that Hodgson did not name the two players who he is assessing suggests that they are important men to the Palace cause, which would be worthy of concern among their fan base.
If the Eagles are going to create a major upset, you would think they are going to need to be at their very best, so they could do without missing two more players in addition to Mamadou Sakho, although in fairness their defensive record is good even in his absence.
All eyes will be on Hodgson’s team sheet to see if there are any surprise exclusions, and if there are then the identity of the players being assessed could become clearer.