After three successive games against top five opposition, Crystal Palace are up against one of their neighbouring sides Huddersfield who sit just four points above them.
In recent weeks injury woes have troubled the Eagles, but along with other players coming back to full fitness, manager Roy Hodgson hopes Wilfried Zaha will continue to impress after his return last weekend:
“I thought he did extremely well when he came on at half-time against Chelsea so it’s good to have him back and I hope he’ll start where he left off six weeks ago.
“People do put a lot of pressure on him however, yes he was playing exceptionally well but players have periods of form and neither Wilf or I can guarantee what his form will be like from now.
“I’d rather hope there would be quite a few other players that can step up to the plate in these final eight games.” He said.
One of those players that Hodgson will be hoping can step up to the plate for Palace is January signing, Alexander Sorloth. The Norwegian striker hasn’t scored as of yet after having an effort at Stamford Bridge chalked off, but Hodgson has been impressed nonetheless, saying:
“He’s done very well because he came on the back of a long winter break where he was just starting pre-season training with Midtjylland.
“Also, in the first couple games he wasn’t playing in the position we bought him to play in, so he’s done extremely well.
“I’m concerned of course about the fatigue element with him, but we’ll wait to see how that pans out.”
Looking back at last the last few weeks for Palace things haven’t gone well results-wise, with four straight losses. But the performances in those games, especially against Manchester United and Tottenham should encourage them going up against Huddersfield.
With just ten points separating 18th placed Palace and 9th placed Everton, there looks to be a great chance of this season’s race for survival to go to the final day of the season.
However, the South London side will be looking to get back to winning ways immediately as they face one of their neighbours in the table. Huddersfield sit in 15th with four points over their visitors, so a Palace win could drag them right back into the thick of the action, as well as possibly push Palace up to 16th.
After Huddersfield’s performance last week which saw David Wagner’s side rack up a massive 52 crosses and 30 shots, Crystal Palace need to ready to put a big fight if they are to have any chance of a final day escape.
On that Hodgson, who kept Fulham up on the final day of the 2007/08 season, said:
“All we as coaching staff can do is out the players in the best possible position to win football matches but then of course, they’re the actors and all the focus is going to be upon those actors on the stage and we hope they’re going to give good performances.
It’s going to be a nervous time for everyone, so I suppose having the experience (with Fulham) might help with the ability to hold your nerve a bit longer.”