Whilst it’s never easy to predict who will play in Roy Hodgson’s FA Cup starting XIs, Palace have at least been boosted by the first-team return of Cheikhou Kouyaté following an injury which saw him sit out our games against Fulham and West Ham.
The central midfielder started in midfield against Southampton before being removed midway through the second half for Jeffrey Schlupp. At the time, I’ll admit to being blissfully unaware that the big man had picked up a knock but clearly, he was struggling with something. Thankfully, his absence hasn’t had too adverse an effect on the team’s fortunes with the aforementioned Schlupp having come in to the side and played superbly twice on the spin.
Whatever Hodgson is planning for the trip to the Keepmoat Stadium, it’s always nice to have options across the park and with a level of uncertainty over whether or not Wilfried Zaha will be available following his appeal to overturn a two-game ban, Kouyaté’s return will have eased the gaffer’s midfield headache significantly.
On paper, most people will be expecting Palace to win comfortably against the League One side but in reality, this has all the makings of an upset. Grant McCann’s side are in fine form, having lost just one of their last nine games in all competitions and after scoring three times against both Peterborough and Southend in home fixtures over the last week, they’ll go into Sunday’s game brimming with confidence.
The nature of the FA Cup means Rovers will go into the clash with nothing to lose as the clear underdog, meaning that it’s up to Palace, whoever Roy Hodgson decides to select, to get the job done in tricky circumstances.