Last season comprised of the mixed fortunes the Crystal Palace faithful have come to expect.
A finish of 11th masked the hellish start for the Eagles, beginning under the short lived tenure of Dutchman Frank De Boer. Palace failed to score, and lost, in each of their seven opening games.
Hodgson embarks on his first full season in control of the SE25 side, and will be keeping a keen eye on pre-season as he finalises his plans for the coming Premier League campaign.
A forward, or perhaps two new forwards, will be on Hodgson’s shopping list. He just didn’t have the options last season and the team suffered as a result.
With that in mind, here’s two players who need to impress in pre-season…
An obvious choice. The big Belgian must impress in pre-season if he wants to be a part of Hodgson’s starting eleven plans next term. Netting a pitiful 3 League goals, and not scoring until December, his place in the team is understandably under scrutiny.
Last season, Hodgson grew to favour a front pairing of Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha over using target man Benteke. No matter what system he is played in, he must impress in the Eagles pre-season campaign.
After bursting onto the scene last season, Aaron Wan-Bissaka must now fight to earn his starting place over Joel Ward, who has returned from injury. Joel Ward has more experience and has been with the Eagles since 2012, but Bissaka’s composed defending, never give up attitude and composure on the ball did much to endear the home grown player to the Eagles faithful.
If Wan-Bissaka has a strong pre-season for the South Londoners, he will be making a serious statement to Roy Hodgson that he wants to make his mark in the side as a regular starter. Now aged 20, Wan-Bissaka will not want to spend another season confined to the bench at Selhurst Park, especially now he has tasted first team football.