Batshuayi in line for first Palace start against Doncaster, says Hodgson

Batshuayi in line for first Palace start against Doncaster, says Hodgson
FILE PHOTO: Belgium's Michy Batshuayi at King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium - Nov 15, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo -
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(Reuters) - Michy Batshuayi could make his first Crystal Palace start in Sunday's FA Cup fifth-round clash at Doncaster Rovers but manager Roy Hodgson has ruled out wholesale changes against the League One outfit.

Batshuayi, who has come off the bench twice since joining on loan from Chelsea following a spell with Valencia in Spain, could add a new dimension to the Palace attack with his explosive pace and work rate.

When asked if the Belgium striker will force his way into the starting lineup, Hodgson said: "I have not decided on that yet but it could happen.

"He is a very lively character and is pleased to be back in London. He knows some of the other players, they've made him feel welcome in training and in the matches he's played so far.

"He has been everything we hoped he would be."

Hodgson is still awaiting news on Wilfried Zaha's availability for the trip to Keepmoat Stadium after the forward appealed against the additional match attached to his original one-game suspension for being sent off last month.

Zaha was charged with improper conduct by the FA and fined £10,000 for his behaviour after being shown a red card against Southampton on Jan 30.

"He's one of the players we could and will need in this game but we need to wait and see what the result of our appeal is because the original decision was that he would be banned for the game," Hodgson added.

"I think it is a very harsh punishment, we think the sending off was punishment enough, but we must wait for the decision from the appeal committee."

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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