Crystal Palace: Throw Ledley & Ince Straight In To Continue Our Resurgence
1. INTEGRATE NEW BLOOD
In contrast to the last transfer window when we suffered from the madness of Ollie’s Supermarket Dash we had a pretty successful January in which we secured the services of Dann, Hennessey, Ledley & Ince. Although this quartet may sound like a rather dodgy solicitors firm from Thornton Heath, they all add quality to the existing squad. Expectations are that both Ledley and Ince will come straight into the side and they need to bed in quickly as there is no time to get their bearings. With the former’s experience and the latter’s raw potential the midfield should be the stronger. So welcome to the four musketeers and now it’s time to get stuck in.
2. BLOOD TRANSFUSION
It will be fascinating to see how the existing squad members respond and again there is no room for a period of acclimatisation or getting to know you. So we cannot have any element of “After you, Joe.” “No honestly, you first Joel.” It has to be all guns blazing from the off. In Pulis we have a manager who does not stand on ceremony and will work hard on integrating the new boys and infuse them with the necessary spirit to carry us forward. Talking of spirit leads naturally to the importance of unity.
3. RED AND BLUE BLOOD
Unity is an over-used word in football especially in the current climate when managers’ reigns are measured in months rather than years, the catalogue of unfit and improper owners is mounting and player loyalty is as common as hen’s teeth. The concept of togetherness seems to be anachronistic but down Palace way there is a real sense of an indomitable spirit that was spawned by the club having gone close to the brink in 2010 when a last ditch deal rescued the sinking ship. Since those darkest of days the atmosphere at matches has improved dramatically, aided by our very own ultras The Holmesdale Fanatics who drum up, literally and metaphorically, a vociferous backing. One would hope the players feel this and respond accordingly.
4. BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS
The hope is that as we are all in this together then everyone involved with the club will give everything to achieve success. So fans will sing their hearts out as the players stretch every sinew to secure survival. This ethic of commitment and dedication is essential in the mass brawl to stay up that has developed at the bottom half of the table. With a mere six points separating Fulham and 11th placed Stoke this is going to the wire. The prospect of at least half a dozen teams entering the final day still in danger of going down is a real and terrifying prospect. I am already shaking as we travel to Craven Cottage for our last match.
5. BLOOD ON THE TRACKS
West Brom are one of those teams who have been steadily sucked into the mire and we are now twinned with the Baggies on 23 points and this is yet another match of ‘do or die’ proportions in the eternal struggle against the dreaded drop. We have already played each other twice, once in the League where we lost 2-0 as Holloway was losing his way and once in FA Cup where we achieved a 2-0 victory under Pulis. So an even contest is in the offing and West Brom will be hoping that the way they fought back against Liverpool courtesy of Toure’s very generous gift will be their inspiration rather than how they threw away a two-goal lead against bitter rivals Villa and ended up losing 4-3. Having travelled to the Hawthorns for that FA Cup match I witnessed their anaemic performance that day which was the combination of a ponderous back four and a toothless attack, and so we will hope to expose this and bloody their nose.
Follow Richard on Twitter, @rcfoster