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Benteke's place under threat, says Hodgson

 

By Declan Warrington

Roy Hodgson has warned the goalless Christian Benteke he is willing to use Bakary Sako as a striker and that Crystal Palace "cannot afford to carry anyone".

The club-record £27million signing is yet to score in 12 appearances this season and, despite being their only senior recognised striker, is under growing pressure after Sako came off the bench against Watford to score.

Hodgson had begun to convert Sako from a winger while Benteke - who missed a crucial injury time penalty last weekend - was injured, and on Tuesday he scored a poacher's goal.

Despite Hodgson's team having a convincing attacking threat at Selhurst Park, they are yet to score away from home in 2017/18, a concern that could be intensified when they visit Leicester tomorrow.

"Sako has done well and he scored a good goal by following the ball in," said the 70-year-old manager.

"He did that and, when the goalkeeper couldn't hold it, he scored from the rebound.

"We haven't been following the ball in as well as we'd like. It's something we preach but don't always manage to produce, but he did. That alone is something we find very positive.

"He has improved in terms of his understanding of what we want from him. I am not afraid to use him."

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