Crystal Palace defender Mark Hudson is focusing on cementing a regular first team place after making his first Premiership start for seven months against Middlesbrough.

The 23-year-old summer signing from Fulham has seen his first season as a permanent Palace player disrupted by injury, and by the form of centre back pairing Fitz Hall and Gonzalo Sorondo.

But Hudson hopes his performance against Boro will be enough for him to get the nod against Everton on Sunday.

Hudson said: “I felt very good, it’s been a long time coming but it was nice to be involved. It was a shame about the result, as it’s that time of the season when we need to pick up points.

“I admit I made a bit of an edgy start, but it was always going to be and I got through it in the end. Hopefully I’ll be playing against Everton.” The Selhurst Park crowd showed their appreciation for Hudson with warm applause when he mistakenly thought he was being subbed.

Hudson said: “I just thought I was being substituted, I didn’t want to come off but when I got to the touchline I was told they got the boards wrong. I got a good reception.” The Eagles defender started off the season as first choice centre back alongside Tony Popovic until he got injured against Manchester City in September.

After he returned to fitness he was limited to a Carling Cup outing and reserve team fixtures, before he got injured again, this time with a hernia problem which gave him another extended run on the sidelines.

Hudson said: “That’s what happens with footballers, at least my injury was a hernia that kept me out for only four weeks, so if I’m only out for that amount of time I’ll take it.

“But it’s also been character building for me and it’s helped me, not that I wanted to be injured!” Despite his long absence from first team action, Iain Dowie has kept close tabs on Hudson and kept him involved despite either being out through injury or not making the final 16.

Hudson said: “We’ve got a good relationship, we talk quite a lot.

“But Fitz and Sorondo have had a good partnership and he’s the manager and he picks the team, so its up to him.

“He explains his decision to me and I’ve got to take that as a professional.” But now he’s finally forced his way back in, Hudson hopes he’s earned an extended run in the team and wants to be involved on Sunday as the Eagles look to get some much needed points at Goodison Park.

Hudson added: “If I’ve done enough to get selected it will be a great game to play in and I’m really looking forward to it.

“They [Everton] haven’t been doing that well recently so we’re confident we can go there and get a result.

“It’s the only way we are going to approach it.”