Belfast Telegraph

Hodgson not looking to transfer window to solve Palace’s goalscoring problems

The Eagles have scored just 13 goals in 16 Premier League matches this season.

Roy Hodgson does not believe Crystal Palace need to spend in the January transfer window to ignite their season — even though he recognises their reliance on Wilfried Zaha is a “problem”.

Palace host Leicester on Saturday when, with Zaha suspended, they will attempt to end a run dating back to September 2016 which has seen them lose every league fixture for which the forward has been absent.

A season that had begun with optimism surrounding Palace’s prospects has swiftly become one that suggests their Premier League status is at risk, and essentially because of their lack of a goalscoring threat.

Regardless of whether Christian Benteke, still recovering from a knee injury, has been fit Palace have struggled to score goals and therefore a defensive record better than some of those in the top eight has been undermined.

That only Huddersfield have scored fewer than Palace’s total of 13 has contributed to Hodgson’s team sitting only two points above the bottom three, but the former England coach insists he retains faith in the players already in the squad to get goals.

He said: “We have Christian Benteke coming back from injury.

“We have Connor Wickham trying to recover from a two-year absence. We’ve still got players like Alexander Sorloth and Jordan Ayew, bona fide centre-forwards. We still believe that we have players to score.

“I have faith in the squad, faith in the group. Until these last two games, people were telling me how well we were playing. Now I get the impression I’m being told we are absolutely hopeless.

“New faces, maybe perking up the squad and giving you another arrow to your bow, that can be a help. But in January that can be difficult.

“You need to bring someone in who will make an immediate impact. We don’t need extra bodies. We have 20-22 outfield players. Anyone who comes in would have to be a considerable improvement on what we’ve got.

“I still see the bigger picture. I see the players we have. I believe the way we play and the players we have will be more than sufficient to stay in the league.”

Regarding Zaha, Hodgson said: “It’s a problem in that Wilf has scored, but he’s not been prolific either. We’re not scoring a lot of goals, but we’re not letting a lot in either, apart from the last two games.

“The bottom line is we need to improve on the goalscoring front, take our chances more. We’re not a particularly defensive team, but someone needs to stand up and start scoring.”

James Tomkins is also suspended for Saturday’s fixture, with Martin Kelly expected to deputise, but following doubts over Patrick van Aanholt’s fitness the left-back is expected to start.

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