Wayne Hennessey has not been assured of an immediate return to the Crystal Palace first-team by Roy Hodgson, who admitted that he had a dilemma on his hands ahead of Bournemouth’s visit to Selhurst Park tomorrow.
Whilst the Welsh number one kept a clean sheet against Brighton last Tuesday at The Amex Stadium, the back spasms he suffered in the warm-up for Saturday’s trip to West Brom meant that veteran stopper Julian Speroni took his place, before keeping a clean sheet of his own.
As headaches go, having two goalkeepers who have stopped the opposition from scoring in their most recent outing is rather a pleasant one to wrestle with but as we edge closer to safety, the importance of picking up three points against the Cherries really cannot be overstated.
Following a hand injury Wayne suffered in the opening weeks of the 2017-18 campaign, Speroni was given the starting berth and clung onto it until an error of judgement in our 2-2 draw at home to Everton cost him his place. Of course, given the respective ages of the pair, it seems feasible for Hennessey to be the undisputed number one but ask A cross-section of Palace fans and you’re likely to get a wide range of opinions as to who should be starting between the sticks from week to week.
Having signed French international Steve Mandanda with the intention of making him our unquestioned first-choice, it’s a tad ironic that we now find ourselves in exactly the same dilemma as we were before his arrival in the summer of 2016. In truth, we would be best served by delving into the market for a new keeper during the January transfer window but with other positions of more pressing importance as things stand, we could well end up sticking with the aforementioned duo until the summer.
Although I could have no real complaints with Hennessey’s performance against the Seagulls last Tuesday, I would still opt to put Speroni in goal for the visit of Eddie Howe and his players tomorrow afternoon if I were Roy. Whilst I can only speak from personal experience as a supporter, I feel a great deal calmer with the Argentine in goal than I ever have about the former Wolves man. That said, I’m not the one being paid to take charge of the team from day to day, so it’s probably best I leave the final call up to him.