Bakary Sako suffered an ankle injury in Crystal Palace’s 1-1 draw at West Ham that could rule him out for a large part of the season, according to manager Roy Hodgson.
Sako was left in pain in the closing stages of the first half on Tuesday following a heavy challenge from Pablo Zabaleta, the 29-year-old subsequently replaced by Yohan Cabaye.
Palace were leading 1-0 at the time, but were soon pegged as Mark Noble converted a penalty that led to the points being shared at London Stadium.
Hodgson indicated that Sako’s injury wouldn’t prompt a frenzied search for a replacement forward before the transfer window closes on Wednesday but he said signings remained important.
“We won’t know until tomorrow, but the medical staff are not too optimistic,” he told reporters, when asked about Sako’s condition. “It is disappointing to pay a price if he does miss a large part of the season.
“We don’t really have the luxury of losing a forward.
“I would doubt if there was any reason to criticise the tackle.
“Nothing changes, it just makes it imperative to bring players in otherwise the squad will be thin.”
After surviving a couple of early West Ham chances, Palace took the lead on 24 minutes through Christian Benteke, who scored his first goal of 2018.
Hodgson, whose side lost 4-1 to Arsenal in their previous outing, seemed satisfied with a point.
“At half-time 1-1 was probably fair,” he told BBC Sport. “We probably hadn’t done enough to deserve that lead.
“We looked dangerous in the second half and threatening but never led to clear-cut goalscoring chances.
“Away from home, playing a team that’s having a good spell, I am happy with that.”