Crystal Palace will be desperately looking to end their awful run of results in the Premier League by winning away to fellow mid-table side West Bromwich Albion in Saturday’s late kick-off.
The home side were in need of a victory themselves last time out in the top-flight when they travelled to Everton, and in a fashion typical of a Tony Pulis team, they delivered the goods right when it mattered. They had to withstand almost constant pressure throughout the 90 minutes, but a performance characterised by rock-solid defensive organisation and a real determination to protect their goal was key to keeping intact the lead given to them by Salomon Rondon.
It was a result which lifted them to the relative security of having an eight-point cushion above the bottom three, and now only an inferior goal difference is what has them behind their opponents coming into this match. However, they have since sent crashing to defeat in the FA Cup by Reading of the Championship and deservedly so, with set-pieces proving to be their downfall in a game marred by the long-serving Chris Brunt being hit by a coin thrown from the stands in the aftermath.
Reading are now the only team that stands in the way of Crystal Palace making it to Wembley for the semi-finals of that competition after they upset London rivals Tottenham last weekend, but manager Alan Pardew may be wishing that he could have exchanged some of that success for league points over recent weeks as a place in the top five at Christmas has been replaced by the depths of 13th spot at the end of February after six defeats in seven games.
That Yannick Bolasie has returned from injury is a real boost for the Eagles, who have goalscoring a major problem in the absence of his dynamic presence on the left wing, so he should breathe new life into the side here in a game which should see a competitive midfield battle involving the combative Yohan Cabaye up against the even more feisty Claudio Yacob. There is unlikely to be too much between the sides, so that duel could be key to deciding the outcome.
The Baggies are likely to be without Jonathan Evans, but fellow defenders Craig Dawson and Gareth McAuley should be fit enough to play a part.
Pape Souare continues to serve a suspension for Palace, who are also without injured duo James McArthur and Jason Puncheon. Winger Bakary Sako will be assessed.