Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock admits losing Aussie skipper Mile Jedinak to Asian Cup duty in January will be a hammer-blow at a vital time in the club's EPL campaign.
Jedinak will lead the Socceroos at the Asian Cup in Australia which starts in the New Year.
Depending on how far the Socceroos go, Jedinak could miss close to a month for Palace at what looms as a crucial period for the club.
While Palace are expected to battle the drop this season, they have made a promising start under Warnock and won their last two matches against Everton and Leicester City.
The 30-year-old Socceroo midfielder has scored in both of those victories which has lifted the Eagles to ninth and Warnock is dreading the period he won’t have his skipper available.
“We will miss him,” Warnock told the London Evening Standard (http://bit.ly/ZsZi2C).
“He is the leader of the camp. Everything on and off the field revolves around him.
"There is the Africa Cup of Nations at about the same time, too, so it will be difficult for a lot of teams in the Premier League in January and February.
"Mile has been able to push forward more than usual this season, too, and I think he can score more goals.”
After playing a huge role in helping Palace stay up last season, Jedinak is again leading from the front this campaign.
His clinical penalty helped upset Everton a fortnight ago, while he produced a trademark header last week to sink Leicester.
He is likely to miss matches against Tottenham, Everton and Burnley in the league as well as an FA Cup tie while on Socceroos duty.