Eagles Preview - Home, Jan 5th
Dave Kitson has this week come out and made what I believe is a ludicrous statement that he doesn't 'give two s***s' about the F.A Cup - just because he won't start I reckon!
Whilst Steve Coppell and the other 'big-timers' in the Premier League might be resting their starting XI's to give the kids a runout, it's certain Aidy Boothroyd and Neil Warnock won't be doing the same.
Warnock's arrival at Selhurst Park has galvanised the Eagles who until his arrival looked more like relegation material than promotion fodder. However, with his astute business sense, Warnock has made a handful of loan signings and given several promising kids their chance. Couple this with the sudden form of Clinton Morrison and you've got a team now 2/1 t0 make the play offs.
Tomorrow could be the start of a downward slide as the 'Manager of the Month curse' kicks in.
Franck Songo'o arrived from Pompey to take on Watford in Warnock's first home game (although he has since returned to the South Coast) before former Palace hardman Shaun Derry arrived in the midfield. Clint Hill arrived in a loan swap with big Leon Cort, formerly Eagles player of the year.
Hill has been immense since his arrival with 3 goals in 12 appearances from centre half. In four years at The Britannia he made just 76 appearances, largely due to injury, now though Hill is a key member of the Palace backline and could move permanantly once his loan spell is over.
Alongside Hill is former Fulham centre back, Mark Hudson. Signed in 2005, Hudson was not first-choice under Iain Dowie, playing second fiddle to Fitz Hall and Tony Popovic. Now Hudson is a regular at the heart of their defence.
Rounding off the back four are Dan Butterfield, a solid pro', who like our own O'Toole sports a large untamed mop on his head. On the left-hand side is youngster Lee Hills who made his debut against the 'Orns, his long-throws will be important to Palace's success.
Palace's impressive record in December - unbeaten and only shipping four goals was as much to the back five's credit as Clinton Morrison.
In his second spell at the club, Morrison has been on fire of late having finally notched his 100th Palace goal. It took some while coming after being dropped by Peter Taylor whilst stuck on 99. His 100th was a 88th minute leveller against QPR and now he has 108 all told in his two spells. Despite his success under man-motivating machine Neil Warnock, he is out of contract this Summer and allegedly having to 'beg' for a new deal.
His strike partner is likely to be James Scowcroft who might also be wary of his future in South London having managed just 11 goals in 59 games for the Eagles. His latest came in a 1-0 victory against Warnock's former employers, Crystal Palace. He managed to bag a hat-trick however against Southampton on day one.
Lee; Doyley, DeMerit, Shittu, Stewart; Smith, Francis, Williamson, McAnuff; Henderson and King.
Crystal Palace XI?
Speroni; Butterfield, Hudson, Fonte, Hills; Hall, Bostock, Scannell, Kennedy; Morrison and Scowcroft.
TICKETS FOR THE GAME ARE 'SOLD-OUT'
Come on you 'Ornsss!