The mood is good around Crystal Palace – Hodgson
Roy Hodgson insists there is a good mood around his Crystal Palace squad and revealed the club’s injury situation has improved.
The Eagles have struggled recently, with their last win coming against West Ham on Boxing Day, although they will be hoping to reap the benefits of a 10-day break when they host Sheffield United on Saturday.
Palace have not played since their home defeat by Southampton on January 21, and Hodgson praised his players for staying positive.
“The mood is good, the mood in training has been fine,” Hodgson said. “This is a very good group of players, they are very professional, they train very well, but they also seem to enjoy their life as professional footballers of Crystal Palace and enjoy their work.
“Of course when you lose a game it’s never a good feeling, but on the other hand you get over that and know it’s time to move onto the next game and try to regain the equilibrium that we’ve had during my time at the club.”
Sheffield United are currently eighth in the table, having lost only seven games all season, and they have conceded just 23 goals across their 24 games so far.
When asked about his plan for blunting the Blades, Hodgson said: “Our approach will be based on what they’re very good at and what they do. One of the things we know they do is to defend well and get bodies behind the ball very quickly.
“If we’re going to score goals we’ve got to get balls into the penalty area, so I don’t know how that will affect our approach.
“We have to make sure the players are prepared for what they’re going to come up against and what I’m looking for from us is the quality to unlock their defence, to make it difficult for them to keep us out.
“Then it’s for us and the movement from our players up front to create those opportunities and, most importantly, if we create them, to take them.”
The Eagles boss will also be boosted by the return to availability of a number of key players.
Andros Townsend is expected to return, alongside Patrick Van Aanholt and Christian Benteke, bringing an end to Palace’s injury crisis over the festive period.
Luka Milivojevic is also eligible following a three-match suspension, giving Hodgson a different group of players to choose from.
However, Mamadou Sakho and Jeffrey Schlupp are set to remain sidelined with long-term injuries, and Everton loanee Cenk Tosun will also be missing after he sustained a hamstring problem against Southampton.