One point will do it. Indeed, no points will do it so long as there’s not a six goal swing between us and Leeds. Anyone else tempted to go for a few two-bet accumulators covering off the various outlandish result combinations that might result in us ending up outside the play-offs? Hmm. Just me then?
So we get to go on a jaunt down the M1 along with a load of Leeds fans heading to QPR and of course some jolly Stags fans heading to Wembley for the FA Trophy final. Selhurst Park is probably amongst my least favourite trips, it just seems like such a tremendous pain in the arse to get to, and once you’re there it’s not like we have a fantastic record there either!
Palace have nothing to play for, their safety in the Championship is now assured. Meanwhile, also in London, Leeds face a Queens Park Rangers side who, well, we have no idea whether they’ll have anything to play for. My understanding is that any point deduction must be applied before the end of the season (ie, full time on Saturday). Of course, my understanding might be wrong.
I’ve given up on speculating on it, or reading the speculation of others regarding it – because the variation in views would suggest that no bugger has any idea!
So, to us. Robbie Earnshaw is missing thanks to his foolish sending off last week. Fellow Robbie of the Findley variety remains a doubt with what is described as a slight thigh problem, seems to make no sense in risking him. Konchesky has gone back to Liverpool, Lynch is injured – which means either Bennett, Gunter or Cohen are likely to be Billy’s left back options.
All come with their pitfalls – of course, it gives Bennett a chance to get out infront of the Palace fans after his loan there earlier in the season. I suspect that Billy will opt for Moloney at right back, Gunter at left back and – assuming all is going well results-wise – give Bennett a run late in the game and putting Gunts back to right back.
Tys is also still likely to be out with a thigh problem (what is it with us an thigh problems?), whilst of course Dex remains on the long-term sick list. As does Wilson, whilst we all really know that he’s not injured and just been ousted pending his buggering off up to Scotland in the summer.
Our hosts will be able to welcome back Neil Danns and Sean Scannell who return from suspension, Alex Marrow is injured and not available. Dougie Freedman may take the opportunity to give some of the Eagles’ highly rated academy players a run out in a low-pressure environment, however.
Earlier in the season we strolled 3-0 past a very off-form Palace, Marcus Tudgay marked his debut with a lovely lobbed goal, with Chambers and McCleary netting the other two goals. In terms of recent form, ours is pretty good – three wins on the bounce, four wins from the last five – Palace are unbeaten in three, although only have one win in their last five – happily for us, against Leeds.
I can imagine that this won’t be exactly entertaining – Billy will be aware that a draw will guarantee a play-off finish, and won’t want to risk injury or fatigue. Much as it rankles sometimes, I predict – and actually approve of – a cagey defensive away performance to deliver the result we need. I hope I’m wrong and we can register a win and as such continue a good run into a play-off campaign.
Now I’m just off to check the odds on some insane scoreline combination accumulators for our match and Leeds’ game… pessimist? Me? Surely not! Might be better off betting against the FA actually doing anything to QPR before the match starts…
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