Speaking after Tuesday night’s humbling loss to 10-man Brighton, Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson told the press that he expects very little to change in January, despite calls from fans for attacking reinforcements in the transfer market.
The 71-year-old has cut an increasingly battle-weary figure between August and December, leaving me with no choice but to feel that he’s growing tired of the daily grind attached to the day-to-day challenges associated with managing the football club. For all our eye-catching build-up play, goals have been in short supply all season long and rather than put a positive spin on things when addressing the media last night, the gaffer merely chose to prepare the Palace faithful for more of the same in the New Year.
We all know that Christian Benteke is on the comeback trail but with a season-long barren run just behind him, you can forgive vast swathes of the Palace faithful for not expecting too much upon his return to action. Factor in the seemingly never-ending quest to bring Connor Wickham back to full fitness, the gradual realisation that Alexander Sørloth isn’t cut out for the Premier League and the sight of Jordan Ayew looking nothing like the finisher we thought we were getting when he arrived from Swansea and it’s clear to see that the fan-base need someone new to get enthused about.
There is every chance that Hodgson’s comments are merely damage limitation given the knowledge that there’s next to no money in the pot for signings this January, leaving him taking the majority of the stick when he can do little about the state of the club’s coffers. It’s that grim realisation which leads me to wonder how and indeed if we’ll manage to avoid the drop for a fifth time, having diced with death at one stage or another in every season since our promotion to the top flight back in 2014.
If Premier League football is a game of Poker, it feels as though we’re currently fiddling with our last few chips in the hope of a dramatic change in fortune before it’s all too late; quite where we expect that shift to come from I’m not sure but at this stage, I as a supporter am left with no choice but to cross my fingers and pray that we haven’t blown our chances already.