sport

Pulis faces tough programme

Crystal Palace Tony Pulis is hoping that his injury-ravaged squad will be able to cope with a difficult Christmas programme.

Palace, who lost 3-0 at home on Saturday to Newcastle, face Aston Villa at Villa Park on Boxing Day without suspended striker Marouane Chamakh.

Pulis's side, who are third from bottom of the Premier League, then face the task of travelling to face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium just two days later.

Pulis said: "We have a problem at the club in that we have quite a few injuries and obviously Chamakh is suspended on Boxing Day - so that's 10 players injured and Chamakh out.

"It's near on 11 players that we can't call. It's a big miss for us but saying that, the players that have performed and played in the games have done exceptionally well.

"We'll go there and make sure that we prepare properly and hopefully get a result.

"We are hoping at the end of January 30 that three or four of our long-term injuries are back. One or two have hamstring and calf strains and we hope to have them back.

"We have got two very difficult away games - from Villa, we go to Man City two days later. It's a massive call for a club of our stature at the moment to do that but that's what being in the Premier League is all about."