Roy Hodgson says his Crystal Palace squad is beginning to return to fitness after suffering from a lengthy injury list prior to the international break, but has confirmed that Ebere Eze and Michael Olise will not be available for the visit of Tottenham Hotspur on Friday evening.
The manager confirmed in his pre-match press conference that the same injuries that kept several players out of the trip to Newcastle remain, but that the rest of the squad is available to him once again.
“Not particularly [any new faces], but we don’t have so many now who are really out of the question,” Hodgson said.
“Of course we still have [Dean] Henderson, the goalkeeper, and we still have Ebere Eze and Michael Olise, so still quite big names are out. Add to that James Tomkins, who picked up a calf strain.
“Otherwise we have everybody back now and ready to play, so certainly the situation with regards to selecting the XI and selecting the bench is quite a different proposition than it was a few weeks ago.”
Hodgson confirmed that Tomkins will require more time before returning to the matchday squad.
“He has missed a week so far, just over a week, so most of these things take three weeks so I would think [he needs] another couple of weeks,” the manager explained.
“It’s not a massive strain that would keep him out for a long period, as has happened to all three of Eze, Olise and Henderson which were all very serious ones.”
Hodgson says he has been impressed with his players’ ability to step up in the absence of Eze and Olise, but emphasised that he will be thrilled to have them back in the Palace attack.
“They were so important towards the end of last season, there is not a doubt about that, so it would be wrong to say we don’t miss them,” Hodgson said. “But I must say, the players who have come in have done a good job.
“Before our game against Newcastle, our points tally from the number of games was more than satisfactory. But like all teams, we don’t want to lose players of their ability, and especially their creative ability.
“As far as I’m concerned, they can’t come back quick enough to help us go forwards and help us maybe to be a bit more potent when we have the ball in the opposing team’s half.”