Iain Dowie has moved to strengthen his defence by signing Fulham's Mark Hudson on a month's loan, after Curtis Fleming broke a bone in his leg on Saturday.

The 21-year-old centre back signed a one month contract on Tuesday and will go straight into the first team squad for Saturday's trip to Watford.

Palace's defensive resources are stretched to breaking point after 34-year-old Fleming and Tony Popovic (hamstring) joined Kit Symons (groin) and long-term casualty Darren Powell (thigh) on the treatment table.

Earlier this season Guildford-born Hudson spent three months on loan at Oldham under Dowie, playing 16 games, but he returned to Craven Cottage in January.

Dowie said: "He's a footballing centre half. He's got pace, he's a good passer of the ball and is a bright player.

"We need a bit of pace in the back line and that's no criticism of what I've got. We need some youthful pace to get the balance right."

Asked why Hudson was only joining on a month's loan, the Palace manager said he needed to see how Hudson adapts to life in Division One.

He said: "No disrespect but there's a big difference between coming to Crystal Palace and Oldham."

Aston Villa defender Rob Edwards is now on loan at Derby, after a five week spell at Palace, but Norwegian goalkeeper Thomas Myhre's loan from Sunderland has been extended by a further week until after the re-arranged Bradford game on January 24.

Dowie added: "He has shown us he is an excellent keeper."