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Roy Hodgson

Should Crystal Palace offer Roy Hodgson a one-year contract extension?

Roy Hodgson sounded quietly confident.

“I can’t demand that a contract is put on the table, that has to come from them [the board], but I have never had any real doubt or fears that wouldn’t happen,” the Crystal Palace manager said.

“Certainly it has been made clear to me now that’s something the chairman really wants to do. He wants to put that contract in front of me for me to look at and sign.

“So here we are, obviously a lot closer in that respect than maybe some people have given the club credit for.

“The fact is the chairman and I had very positive discussions during the week.

“I have no reason to doubt the intentions of the club are any different now to how they were: to ask me to stay.

“I’ll be having further discussions in the coming days and we’ll see where that leads.”

It does indeed seem likely that the former England manager will still be in charge at Selhurst Park for the 2020/21 campaign. However, until a one-year extension has been signed there will be speculation over his future.

Hodgson has done an excellent job at the helm of the club he followed as a boy. He was appointed as Frank de Boer's replacement in September 2017 and tasked with keeping the Eagles in the top flight. That was far from a straightforward undertaking: Palace had lost each of their first seven games in 2017/18 without scoring a goal.

By the end of the campaign, though, Hodgson's side were safely ensconced in mid-table. An 11th-place finish represented a tremendous achievement given the predicament Palace found themselves in at the beginning of the season. They were just two goals short of a top-half finish.

Palace then endured a mixed start to 2018/19. A 3-2 defeat by West Ham in December saw them slip to 16th spot, just two points above the bottom three. It took until the final few months of the season until Palace pulled clear of danger, and they ultimately finished in 12th position - a whole 15 points above the dreaded dotted line.

In a reversal of last term, Palace began the current campaign well. A 2-1 defeat of West Ham in early October put them in the top four. They remained in the top half until a few weeks ago, but a poor run of form has suddenly prompted the Eagles to look nervously over their shoulder.

Following Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Everton, Palace have now won only one of their last 11 top-flight encounters. Going further back, they have triumphed in just three of 18 matches since that aforementioned victory over West Ham.

Goalscoring has been a particular problem throughout the campaign. No team has found the back of the net less often than Palace, who have scored just 23 times in 26 matches. Jordan Ayew is their top scorer with six goals. Second-placed Wilfried Zaha has only half that.

This Palace team clearly lacks of a proven goalscorer. But Hodgson’s conservative, safety-first tactics have not helped. Palace often start games slowly and rarely go on the front foot, even when they face teams they are expected to beat. That is perhaps part of the reason why the Palace hierarchy have hesitated in handing Hodgson a new deal.

Ultimately, though, it would be too much of a risk for Palace to let a manager of Hodgson’s calibre go. The 72-year-old is as close to a guarantee of Premier League survival as possible. And it is not the manager who is responsible for the poor recruitment that has robbed Palace of the sort of gradual squad renewal that the smartest clubs undergo. Despite their disappointing recent form, the Eagles should stick with Hodgson for another year.

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