Crystal Palace are in action once again tonight with an FA Cup clash against Championship side Stoke City at Selhurst Park after drawing 1-1 against Burnley in their previous Premier League game.
Despite having the home advantage and playing againt a team in the division below them, it seems as though Palace will be without one of their key players for tonight’s match.
Speaking ahead of this evening’s clash in his pre-match press conference, Eagles manager Patrick Vieira revealed that his side will still be without full-back Joel Ward as a result of a groin injury that has kept him on the sidelines for a few weeks.
While the defender will now be unavailable to play against Stoke, Vieira did also say that the 32-year-old had returned to the training field but not with the rest of his teammates, which suggests that he is getting closer to making a full recovery.
The Englishman had played in all but one league game for the south London club this season prior to picking up his current injury and had also donned the captain’s armband on a few occasions, showing how important he is for the side and how valued he is by his manager. As a result, the Frenchman will surely be gutted that he won’t be able to play against the Potters.
Having racked up a higher average of clearances per game than any other Palace player in the Premier League this season with 3.3, as well making a total of 41 tackles and 24 interceptions through the campaign, it’s safe to say that he has been a useful defensive figure for the Eagles and will be a big loss for them in the FA Cup.
In addition to his defensive contributions this season, Ward’s overall performances have also shown why he could be a big miss with WhoScored listing him as the club’s ninth-highest rated player with a rating of 6.65/10.
With the south London club failing to keep a clean sheet in any of their three previous league games that their injured defender has missed, this shows what sort of impact his absence has had on the team at the back.
That said, with Stoke having only won one of their last seven league games, Vieira will be hoping that his side will have enough to secure a win and progress further in the competition without the right-back on this occasion.