Watson injury blow

Last updated : 28 January 2004 By Nik Taylor

Ben Watson is facing a month on the sidelines after undergoing an operation to cure a groin injury.

The midfielder has been struggling with the problem for the last few matches and sat out Saturday’s victory over Bradford.

"If Ben is honest, he’ll admit that he hasn’t been able to run freely in the last couple of matches and that’s why we’ve decided to have it sorted out now," Iain Dowie told the Palace official Web site.

Although the Palace midfield has been depleted in recent weeks, Shaun Derry, Michael Hughes and Aki Riihilahti are all now back to full fitness. And so, with several options in the middle of the park at the moment, Dowie clearly believes it’s better for Watson to have the op sooner rather than later

"Ben is a big player for us but we have to make sure he is right," Dowie added. "He’ll be out for three or four weeks."