Patrick Vieira could lose up to four first-team players in January due to their involvement in the rescheduled Africa Cup of Nations.

The 24-team tournament, postponed from last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, is expected to start in Cameroon on January 9 and run until February 6.

It was originally scheduled to be held in the summer of next year, but due to inclement weather conditions it was brought back to its usual winter location, which has long been a source of frustration for many Premier managers. League.

Palace could be one of the hardest hit teams on the tournament schedule, with Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast), Cheikhou Kouyate (Senegal), Jeffrey Schlupp and Jordan Ayew (both from Ghana) likely to represent their country .

As a result, they could miss the Eagles’ big trip to Amex Stadium to play in Brighton on January 15, and the visit of Liverpool on January 22, which themselves could be without Sadio Mane (Senegal) and Mohamed Salah (Egypt )

These players will also likely miss Palace’s FA Cup third round match, with that match likely being played on the weekend of January 8.

Should any of their countries reach the final stages of the tournament, it would also cast doubt on their participation in the Premier League game in Norwich, currently scheduled for February 8.

If Palace’s four players make it to the competition it will be a big blow to Vieira, especially with three of the players expected to be absent from the attack.

Teenagers Michael Olise and Jesurun Rak-Sakyi have both played on the Palace wing this season, while the club are hoping Eberechi Eze could be back in January to help ease the burden.

Odsonne Edouard and Christian Benteke will still be able to add frontline experience, while Jean-Philippe Mateta could also feature with weak options.

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