Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has been handed a right-back dilemma after revealing Joel Ward has suffered a ‘serious’ knee injury.

Ward was forced off the field in the Eagles 2-1 defeat against Liverpool last Saturday and Hodgson indicated he would be without the defender for a large part of the busy December schedule.

Ward has been Palace’s first choice right back this term following the sale of Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United in the summer, but following the club’s failure to land a replacement it means Martin Kelly, a centre-back by trade, will have to deputise in Ward’s absence.

“Joel went down with what turned out to be a quite serious injury,” Hodgson said at Crystal Palace Supporters Trust event.

“He was really covering Aaron (Wan-Bissaka) last season and now Martin Kelly has got to go and cover him.

“If, and I really hope this doesn’t happen, if Martin got a serious injury, we really are whistling in the wind because we don’t have any real players who play in that position.”

Palace were rumoured to be chasing Liverpool’s Nathaniel Clyne, Chelsea’s Reece James, and Norwich’s Max Aarons in the summer, but failed to land a replacement for Wan-Bissaka.

It’s uncertain whether the club will look for a right-back in the January transfer window, with Hodgson understandably keeping his cards close to his chest.

“In each transfer window we go in with good intentions, work our what we really need, but we have not been able to bring that to fruition, which is a frustration to us all.”

Palace travel to Burnley on Saturday.