Could we make it twelve straight home league wins against Crystal Palace tomorrow evening? You’d like to think so, then again, I was hoping for considerably more than zero points from trips to Preston and Barnsley – so you certainly can’t take anything for granted! Former Reds boss brings the Eagles to the City Ground as the next team to try to scupper our run.
Palace are struggling at the wrong end of the table after going into administration cost them ten points at a stage when – under Warnock – they were looking upward towards the playoffs rather than at the drop zone. With ‘Colin’ now at QPR, Hart has been tasked with repeating his relegation battling antics last seen at Portsmouth last season. Much as I’m fond of Harty, I’m not sure he’s up to that.
Their last game was away at Blackpool and they spunked a two goal lead to end up drawing 2-2, which earned them an unwanted drop into the bottom three. Their recent form has seen them register just one win in their last ten games, coming in Hart’s first game against Sheffield United. Their last four have seen them lose two at home, and pick up two draws away from home.
Meanwhile, of course, ground out a win against Peterborough to maintain our fading hopes of automatic promotion, but cementing our place in third – and mathematically ensuring safety from relegation! As we’ve seen from past ‘runs’ this season, they can be fragile and be snatched away – the lure of twelve straight home wins leaves me as nervous as it does excited!
The Reds can call upon loan winger George Boyd who was ineligible to feature against his parent club. Whether the ankle injury Perchy succumbed to against Peterborough is enough to keep him out remains to be seen, so presumably Chambers will be on standby to cover – unless Billy opts to put Cohen back to fullback with Boyd in midfield. As ever, I’m not about to try to second-guess the wee man!
Palace meanwhile have retained much of their squad despite the financial issues, we of course were one of the clubs courting Victor Moses – but other notable players like Speroni, Ambrose, Danns, Derry and Lee are still available. Darren Ambrose (Darren?!… sorry (reference to the uber-sad PA dude at Selhurst)) was on a great run of scoring form earlier in the season – and he hit the net against Blackpool at the weekend.
Not a team to be taken lightly. Indeed, no team is, are they? If the Reds are on their game then they should be able to deal with this, as indeed they have shown they are capable of dealing with the majority of teams in this league. Get our attitude wrong and we could come unstuck – it would be rather nice to go up to Newcastle next week on the back of two wins, though.
Looking forward to it, though – hoping that Paul Hart enjoys a good reception from the Reds fans before the game. Whilst things ended rather frustratingly under his tenure, he gave us the best football we’ve seen for some time – indeed – until this season we’ve rarely approached those standards of play! Ah, memories.
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