Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has bemoaned the fact that his side will be without a single fit first-team striker this weekend, admitting he has faced the situation just once in his 41-year managerial career. The Eagles face Manchester United on their own turf on this afternoon - after losing their opening six matches without scoring a single goal.
Hodgson's side's struggles have been made that bit greater, given that they must travel to Old Trafford without a recognised first-team striker in their ranks - being forced to rely upon either the inexperienced Freddie Ladapo or Bakary Sako to lead the line, with the former yet to make his debut for the Eagles.
Quoted by the Daily Mail ahead of the game, Hodgson stated: "Someone will have to get the record books out, but there was one time (I had not one striker).
"We had terrible injury problems at Blackburn Rovers. Kevin Gallacher broke his arm and Chris Sutton went missing with a heel injury. So we found ourselves in a difficult position and Jason Wilcox played centre forward in two or three games so it isn't the first time."
The fact such an occurrence has been suffered by a manager as experienced as Hodgson is telling of just serious the striker crisis is at the club, and the injuries to Christian Benteke, Conor Wickham and Wilfried Zaha couldn't have come at a worse time for the struggling Premier League side.
Hodgson could be forced to field 24-year-old Freddie Lapado in the match, a player who spent last season on loan with Oldham Athletic, and who's last full-time club before Crystal Palace was Isthmian League side Margate. The former England manager will be praying for a miracle on Saturday afternoon, but is likely to see his side battered by a rampant and in form United team.