Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson hopes new signing Alexander Sorloth can help fill the void left by forward Bakary Sako missing the remainder of the season with a serious ankle injury.
Sako was forced off during the first half of the Eagles’ 1-1 draw at West Ham on Tuesday night.
Hodgson confirmed in a press conference on Friday the Mali international had suffered a fractured ankle and additional ligament damage.
“He certainly won’t play again this season, and he will do well to be fit for the start of next season – so it is a very, very serious injury,” the Palace manager said.
The timing of Sako’s injury left Palace with little opportunity to alter their plans ahead of the transfer deadline.
Hodgson, though, hopes the arrival of Norway forward Sorloth from FC Midtjylland will prove a shrewd piece of business, which was concluded late on Wednesday.
The 6ft 4ins 22-year-old trained with the rest of the squad ahead of Sunday’s Premier League match against Newcastle at Selhurst Park – when circumstances dictate Sorloth could well get his first run-out.
“We hope he is going to be very good,” Hodgson said, as quoted on the club’s official website.
“We have been following him and he has been a target for the whole of the transfer window and our discussions before that, so we were very pleased to persuade FC Midtjylland to let him go.
“It wasn’t easy because he’s an important player for them, but we are pleased they agreed to that and even more so now after the unfortunate injury to Bakary Sako which meant we were even lighter in that forward area.”
Hodgson added: “He was our first choice striker target and will certainly be involved in the squad this weekend.
“He is short of match practice because the season in Denmark is very different to ours, but he is fit and took part in the training session today, but obviously in terms of match fitness and games he’s a little bit behind the others.”
Hodgson is confident it will not be long before Eagles fans see just what Sorloth is capable of, the forward having scored nine goals for Midtjylland ahead of the winter break.
“Whenever a player changes club he needs time to adjust and we mustn’t forget he hasn’t played competitive football since the end of November,” the Palace boss said.
“But we’re fortunate that after the game on Sunday we have one more game the following Saturday, then a two week break, so he has a good month to get his feet under the table, unless of course we need to use him in those two games before that.”