Crystal Palace will be missing quartet for Aston Villa fixture – South London News


Patrick Vieira has confirmed that Nathan Ferguson, James McArthur, James Tomkins and Jack Butland will continue to be unavailable for selection as he prepares his squad for the Aston Villa clash at home on Saturday.

While Butland (hand) and Ferguson (foot) injuries are more long-term, the experienced pair of McArthur and Tomkins are set to re-join the squad soon, with Vieira looking forward to welcoming them back for their influence both on and off the pitch.

“Tomkins’ [injury] is with his calf and he’ll be back around the end of the month, Macca will take a little bit longer,” said Vieira.

“Macca is a big player for us because of his character, his personality on the field, especially when he’s on the field. We miss his vocals, his leadership, he’s always talking to the players and we miss him very much.

“But we have to deal with it. When you look at Jeff (Schlupp), Ebs (Ebere Eze) or even Luka (Milivojevic) and Will (Hughes), we have different options that we can use.

“We have to change the way we play, because of Conor (Gallagher) and (Cheikhou) Kouyate leaving and Macca with his injuries. We have a different profile of players and we have to adapt ourselves with the profile of the players that we have, what is important is to compete against the teams that we are facing.”

“They know their bodies,” added Vieira about McArthur and Tomkins to the South London Press. “Macca can’t manage himself, it’s very difficult to manage him because he wants to be on the field he wants to train and he’s not someone who can go on the field and just give you 50 per cent. He can’t do that. And by the way, I love it. That is who he is as a player so you can’t change him.

“For Tomkins, its different, it’s just the issues and his calf. At a certain age it takes a bit longer, but he will be back. He’s doing the right things and he will start training with the team very soon. We miss both of them because experience is what we need and what we want.”

Chris Richards made his Palace debut in that draw at Anfield, with the USA player signed from Bayern Munich one of five new arrivals in SE25 in this summer transfer window.

Despite the handful of fresh players, Vieira is looking for more additions before the window slams shut on September 1.

“We have a good squad [but] are a bit short on numbers, regarding the injuries that we have,” said Vieira. “We are just starting the season, so when you play one game a week, you can manage, but when you’re going into the season where you play two games we need to have more rotation and it can become more difficult.

“We need to have more numbers of players that allow me to rotate a little bit more. [But] I’m happy because we have different options. We have players who are capable of playing in different positions and using different systems.”

Richards was one of five substitutes used by Vieira at Anfield, following his four changes made at home against Arsenal the previous week.

This has been made possible after the Premier League introduced a new rule of allowing five from the previous three this season.

“He did really well when he came on,” said Vieira about Richards’ performance after being introduced as a 79th minute substitute.

“He was composed, he defended well, he won a couple of headers, he has this physical presence and he did really well.

“What the five changes allowed us to do was make early decisions, but it’s all about the condition of the game. Sometimes things are going well and you don’t need to change anything, but having those five changes allowed me to make early changes and five is quite a good number.”

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