After the first big derby of the F.A. Cup Third Round saw Virgil Van Dijk propel himself into Anfield folklore with a late winner against Everton, eyes turn to Monday night for another Third Round derby.
Being staged on BT Sport is the M23 Derby between Crystal Palace and Brighton at the Amex. Making his second trip down to Brighton of the year, after a goalless draw in November, Crystal Palace manager, Roy Hodgson is hoping the occasion doesn’t dwarf the game but is still aware of what is at stake:
“It’s an F.A. Cup game and you get who you’re drawn against and I think one has to do the right thing for the club in every situation and mustn’t allow yourself to be swayed by emotions.
“But if our fans and Brighton fans have decided, this is the game that mean something to us, then all of us at the club take that on board and share their passion and enthusiasm.”
As well as the derby being shown on BT Sport, Monday’s game will showcase the introduction of VAR to English football. After a great deal of time and successful ventures in other sports as well as different countries in football, VAR is finally being tested in England. On the decision, the Palace manager said:
“From my experiences in the Confederations Cup, they made a mess of it, but that’s not to say we are in England. I think if people can stick to the main objective which is to prevent obvious mistakes and not to review every situation then I think it will be a positive thing.
“However, I do think It’s going to take an awful lot of work before we will hone it to a level that everyone will find acceptable and it’s going to be very difficult for the referees.”
Hodgson will be going into the game off the back of a Manager of the Month nomination, following a December which saw Palace pick up 12 points out of a possible 21 and shoot up to 14th in the Premier League.
On his nomination the Palace manager said:
“It’s always very flattering when your nominated, it’s a big list with some big names on that list too so I’m happy to be on it of course but like all of these things, when you’re nominated, you’re not nominated as an individual but as someone responsible for a group of people.”
Unfortunately though, the group Hodgson is responsible for won’t all be making their way south on Monday.
Like at many clubs up and down the country at this time of year, Palace have been hit by quite a few injuries.
With Jason Puncheon and Scott Dann known to have picked up long-term injuries in the 0-0 thriller against Manchester City, Hodgson gave updates on a few players closer to recovery:
“We hope that Mamadou Sakho is still a short period away, but Joe Ward and Ruben Loftus-Cheek won’t be available for Monday’s game.”
With two cogs to the Eagles’ defence out injured, Palace have been linked to Lille centre back Ibrahim Amadou but after dismissing any contact between the two clubs, the Palace boss did admit:
“We are interested in looking at defensive players now that we’ve lost Scott Dann and we’re short of cover in that area so certainly any player that comes up in our price range we’d be interested in.”
Despite these injuries, Palace can go into this edition of the M23 Derby confidently having become a very exciting outfit to watch in the Premier League under Roy Hodgson who could celebrate his Manager of the Month nomination with a ticket to the F.A. Cup Fourth Round.