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Palace's Ward faces weeks out with knee injury - Hodgson

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By Reuters
Palace's Ward faces weeks out with knee injury - Hodgson

(Reuters) – Crystal Palace right back Joel Ward will be out of action for a few weeks after sustaining a knee injury in the 2-1 defeat by Liverpool, manager Roy Hodgson said on Thursday.

Ward, who has started every league game this season, was hurt attempting a sliding tackle on Sadio Mane, limping off to be replaced by Martin Kelly.

Hodgson said the injury was more serious than the one that forced the 30-year-old off against Chelsea in the previous game, but he had a positive update on defender Mamadou Sakho, who has not played since September.

“We’ve recovered well. It is of course only Joel Ward, who was taken off and his injury,” Hodgson told reporters ahead of Saturday’s trip to Burnley. “I’m afraid it will keep him out for a number of weeks, but he’s the only one at the moment.

“Mamadou has been fine for a while. The last two weeks he’s been training so it’s just a question of getting back… to the full fitness level he wants to achieve and to do that he’s got to play some matches.”

Palace are winless in their last five matches — which includes four defeats — and have dropped to 13th in the standings but Hodgson said recent results do not justify their performances.

“I don’t think we can equate form with results,” the 72-year-old manager said. “We’ve not performed badly in any of our last games.

“We’ve been close to getting points. Results may have been bad but our form has not.”

Palace forward Wilfried Zaha opened his account this season with a goal against Liverpool and Hodgson hoped the goal would give the Ivory Coast international confidence to push on.

“I was very pleased to see Wilf play so well against Liverpool, even though he’s already been training and playing well,” Hodgson added.

“We had no doubt he’d create goals, but hopefully that performance can lead to even more now.”

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)