Hodgson warns Crystal Palace face vital summer

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has warned that his club face a defining summer.

The Eagles will be planning for another year in the Premier League after the former England manager turned around what looked certain to be a relegation season.

Hodgson came into replace Frank de Boer in September with Palace looking doomed but they are now in 11th place, six points above the drop zone with two games to play.

The 70-year-old has followed in the footsteps of Alan Pardew and Sam Allardyce by going into Palace and turning poor starts around.

And Hodgson says talks with co-owner Steve Parish will be vital in ensuring a similar pattern is not followed again.

“I am hoping that when I get to speak to Steve Parish and the other directors that we can put in place a plan to make sure we don’t find ourselves fighting relegation,” Hodgson said.

“One thing that is 100 per cent certain is that you can’t do it year after year and continuously survive.

“If and when the survival comes this season that will be the third time in a very short period of time that it has been heart-in-the-mouth until pretty late in the season.

“If you really want to establish yourself as a Premier League club, then next season is going to be a very, very important one.”

Had it not been for Hodgson’s intervention, Palace would have been inflicted with the fate that is most likely going to fall on Saturday’s opponents Stoke.

Palace visit the Potters, who are three points adrift of safety, and Hodgson wants his side to finish with a flourish.

“It is a normal occurrence, but this is exaggerated with Stoke needing two wins in two games,” he said.

“Quite a lot of games you play are teams with knives at their throat and desperation in how they need to play.

“We would be foolish if we were not prepared for a Stoke team giving every ounce of energy they can give, and they will be backed by a loud crowd.

“All we can do is make certain we play our football and keep our heads, and don’t get sucked into the type of football they need to play.”

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