Fan Focus: The Palace Perspective

Christopher Lee

We caught up with the lads at The Eagles Beak for all the Crystal Palace opinion you could need ahead of tomorrow's clash at Selhurst Park

It is often said that promotion via the Play-Offs is the best way to do it both for the fans and the momentum it can generate for the team, how was your experience of Wembley, and that Kevin Phillips winner?

Eagle's Beak: It was absolutely fantastic and the very last thing we expected last season. The season was very up and down and our mid season form saved us but going into the play offs we were not playing at all well. Many suggested our final was the two legs over our rivals and we seriously went to Wembley with a view of simply enjoying the day. But as the game went on the belief increased and then the penalty.

What can you say about Super Kev that hasn't already? I celebrated the award of the penalty more than the scoring of it in truth as I knew we had Kevin on the pitch. Epic, epic day.

Everyone knows the exuberant side of Ian Holloway due to his quote-worthy interactions with the media, what is your assessment of him as a manager however?

EB: He was on to a hiding to nothing last season. He took over a side in good from from Dougie Freedman that left for Bolton. The hard work was done and he had to keep it going so some fans thought. But football is just not that simple. A loss and he was being condemned but he made the astute signings of Dobbie and Phillips on loan in January which turned out to be inspired.

I have always liked his style and he is one of the few characters left in the game. So far this season he has not seemed himself but he wears his heart on his sleeve although he has said he will try to keep a lid on it this season in an effort to be considered a serious manager.

Much was made of Wilfred Zaha's move to Manchester United, just how good is he?

EB: He has it all. Turn of pace and that ability as a winger to simply glue the ball to his toes and run. It is raw talent but you all saw what he did for us in the three play off games. He left Palace with our best wishes as it was the ideal end of a chapter and could not have gone to a better club to fulfill his potential. he has yet to feature so far this season for Man Utd but he will at some stage. He is a player that a lot of Palace fans will follow throughout his career, that was how much he was adored.

How would you assess Crystal Palace's dealings in the transfer window, to date?

EB: Not too bad but we expect more between now and the when it closes on Monday evening. As a team promoted through the play offs we are always playing catch up. Pretty much three weeks behind everyone else and that shows.

Last nights defeat at Bristol City shoved our lack of depth in truth and we are still searching for another striker but all Palace fans know that the back line is suspect even though they have performed well in the first two games.

Talk to us about the eye-catching "Jigsaw" banner which graced Selhurst Park on the opening day of the season. Is this a recurring theme we can expect to enjoy?

EB: That was organised by our Holmesdale Fanatics. They are a group of fans that have injected some real atmosphere into games both home and away and I know that there is more to come as the season progresses. That display just sums up what it is to be a Palace fan right now and how proud we are of our team and club no matter what happens. The away support is just superb even in this pre-season we took over 1500 to Gillingham!

Looking ahead to Saturday's fixture, who are the key Palace men that Sunderland need to be wary of?

EB: I would say two players are key for us. Chamakh up front after his goal against Stoke last weekend and our captain Mile Jedinak who has been immense so far this season. He is the heartbeat of the team.

Vice-versa, are there any Sunderland players that cause you particular concern?

EB: Jose Altidore up front will cause our back line problems and on his day Adam Johnson wide can be a handful.

Are there any weaknesses in Holloway's side that Di Canio's men could exploit?

EB: The back line. While we have a great keeper in Speroni who can bail them out we are not entirely happy with our back line. They were excellent against Spurs but silly errors let Stoke back into the game at the weekend.

Again, vice-versa, what would you perceive to be the weak-links in Palace's side that Sunderland could look to take advantage of?

EB: Like us, I don't think your defence is perhaps as good as it should be and after seeing Chamakh battling the Stoke defenders last week and the pace of Gayle we could cause them problems.

Prediction?

EB: We have to get off the mark in this one and take advantage of the home support. For this reason I am banking on a win and don't really care how it happens. But for the record, 2-1 to Palace.

Many thanks to the lads at The Eagles Beak - Be sure to check them out on Twitter and over at their blog.

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