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Hodgson says players returning from injury will be like new signings at Palace

Roy Hodgson is unsure how active Crystal Palace will be during the rest of the January transfer window, with injured players set to return next month.

The Eagles boss has consistently talked about wanting two full-backs in addition to a forward since the summer, but only striker Cenk Tosun has arrived on loan from Everton this month.

After hosting Southampton on Tuesday night, Palace don’t play again in the Premier League until February 1 and two weeks later they have the weekend of 14th-16th off.

Hodgson hopes this period will allow the likes of Mamadou Sakho, Patrick Van Aanholt (both hamstring), Jeffrey Schlupp (hip), Andros Townsend (groin) and Christian Benteke (muscle) to return and help the club remain in the top half of the table.

“As for transfer targets or possibilities, we are still active, but the biggest boost I think will be from the players who I have not had chance to see or work with during the last six weeks,” he said.

“They will almost be new players because it will be six weeks since they had a chance to compete in the first-team. They will certainly boost the squad and give me alternatives.

“In the last few weeks we haven’t had a lot of alternatives and that is why I felt the need to praise the guys who have been out there doing the job each week and getting very little respite.”

Hodgson did reveal the club were “on the verge” of signing teenager Scott Banks from Dundee United.

Just 18, the attacking midfielder is set to join the Eagles academy set-up and will not be part of Hodgson’s senior side for a while yet.

He added: “I know about Scott Banks, I think he is on the verge of joining us, but he is a very young player who Doug (Freedman) knows from Scotland. His first contacts with the club will probably be more on the academy side.

“I haven’t been able to scout him at all, but I know he is a very talented midfield player and the right type we are looking for so it will be nice to welcome him to the club.”

Palace only faced Southampton on December 28 and Hodgson handed a start to central midfielder James McCarthy in the 1-1 draw.

The summer signing from Everton had largely been restricted to cameo roles before the trip to St Mary’s, but has started every fixture for the Eagles since and earned praise from his manager.

McCarthy suffered a broken tibia and fibula for the Toffees in January 2018 and only made one appearance last season after recovering from the injury.

“I think he has been excellent and is getting better and better. We knew it would take a little bit of time,” Hodgson said.

“He deserves an awful lot of credit as does Connor Wickham because when you have these serious injuries, that take you out of football for a long time, it is not easy to get back to your level again.”