PALACE manager Patrick Vieira has hinted the enforced absence of Conor Gallagher for Saturday’s visit of Chelsea could see the hosts make a rare formation change.

The Eagles will be without their seven-goal hitman due to the terms of his loan agreement from the new Club World Cup champions.

England international Gallagher has been a key figure in Vieira’s debut season at Selhurst Park where the former Arsenal captain has regularly used a 4-3-3 formation but those tactics could be mixed up for the London derby.

Your Local Guardian: Crystal Palace's Conor Gallagher will not play against ChelseaCrystal Palace's Conor Gallagher will not play against Chelsea

“No injuries outside of Nathan Ferguson,” the Palace boss said.

“We try a different system, we try different players and still we have to have a reflection about who will play to replace Conor.”

This could mean that Palace will have a more defensive style against the Blues with one of Cheikhou Kouyaté, Will Hughes or James McArthur coming in for Gallagher.

Palace were without Gallagher for the opening day loss at Stamford Bridge, which saw Vieira begin life as a manager in the Premier League with a disappointing 3-0 defeat.

The Eagles are much improved now and have integrated summer signings like Joachim Andersen, Will Hughes and Michael Olise into the starting XI since the previous clash in August.

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