After a tricky start to the season with three league defeats this was looking like a tasty trip, but Dougie Freedman’s side have enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence in form of late with wins first against Sheffield Wednesday before the International Break and then followed up with a derby day win over Charlton at The Valley on Friday evening.
It makes them a team that so far has specialised in extremities – three defeats, two wins, no draws – contrast that with us, we are not-losing specialists with two wins, three draws and no defeats. Sky Bet have us as slight favourites (6/4 vs 7/4) with odds of 23/10 being offered for the draw – so they’re expecting a winner on the night it would seem!
We’ve no fresh injury worries coming into this match – Simon Cox was the obvious weekend worry, but his performance from the bench to help us come back from 2-0 down to secure a point will have been heartening for Sean O’Driscoll, and continues the former West Brom striker’s record of either scoring or making a goal in every appearance he’s made for us.
I can never make my mind up about Crystal Palace – they looked destined to struggle, but seem to specialise in pulling the unexpected out of the bag. Obviously any side including the much-coveted Wilfried Zaha shouldn’t be written off, and the addition of (childish snigger) Goodwillie on loan from Blackburn should give them added potency up front.
So far SO’D has been resistant to wholesale tinkering, and I think that’s appropriate – although with a game in such quick succession with some players looking a little leggy against Birmingham I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few changes. It would be surprising to not see Cox starting, probably in place of Blackstock, and perhaps Coppinger in place of Guedioura.
This is my first radio-bound match of the season – the Tuesday afternoon trek to South London was too much of a test of my resolve. I am sad not to be going in some ways, but Selhurst Park really is the most awful place to get to at the best of times – and Tuesday night certainly isn’t one of those! Best of luck to those of you travelling!
It would be nice to see us register three points on the road having been unlucky not to do so as yet, but as I’m sure the gaffer is aware, Palace ain’t going to be pushovers.
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