Jeffrey Schlupp confident Crystal Palace can overcome injuries in defence

Crystal Palace match-winner Jeffrey Schlupp says the squad can cope despite a defensive injury crisis following Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over Bournemouth.

The utility man fired home with 14 minutes left, after coming on to replace injured left-back Patrick Van Aanholt, to give Roy Hodgson’s 10-men a superb Premier League win.

It moved them up to fifth – at least until Wednesday’s round of fixtures – but the main issue for the Eagles is who to play in defence at Watford on Saturday.

Mamadou Sakho will be suspended after his 19th-minute red card against Bournemouth and Gary Cahill (knee) and Scott Dann (ankle) are not 100 per cent fit so midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate may have to do a job again having impressed at Selhurst Park.

Asked if the squad can overcome injuries, Schlupp insisted: “Yes definitely. Cheikhou did an unbelievable job for us and he has played in that position before so has experience there.

“With myself having to drop in at left-back, I have played there many a time so it is one of those things where you have to do what you have to do.

“We are professionals and wherever you get put you have to go and do your job to try and win games.”

A hamstring problem for Van Aanholt is likely to see Hodgson hand Schlupp his first start since November 3 at Watford.

Even if Palace’s first-choice left-back was not injured, it would have been hard for the Eagles boss not to select super-sub Schlupp after his goals in the wins over Burnley and Bournemouth in recent days.

He admitted: “I have just got to be ready when called upon and I feel like I’m doing that at the minute.

“If I play the next game or if I’m coming off the bench, I’ll give my best but it is my job to give him (Hodgson) that headache to put me in there. He is the boss and what decision he makes is to try and win the game.”

Palace had to play 71 minutes with 10 men on Tuesday, but Schlupp revealed the tactics of the hosts were not altered.

“Circumstances obviously changed during the game which wasn’t ideal but we stuck to our game plan,” Schlupp added.

“That definitely wasn’t just to sit back and defend, we wanted to win. We had to pick our moments but we managed to do that.”

Palace manager Hodgson would not rule out Cahill and Dann being fit to face struggling Watford, but only the former seems likely to recover in time.

Van Aanholt is expected to be absent for the trip to Vicarage Road, although may not be sidelined for too long with the Dutchman replaced by Schlupp in the 29th minute.

Hodgson said: “Patrick will have treatment probably Thursday and have a scan so we will have to wait and hope we can get him back quickly.

“He certainly wasn’t under the impression himself that it is him finished for a number of weeks.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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