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Fan Focus: We Find Out What To Expect From Pulis' Palace

We caught up with Five Year Plan fanzine editor Jim Daly, to gather his thoughts and opinions on Crystal Palace ahead of their visit to the Stadium of Light this weekend.

Jan Kruger

Palace appear to have improved massively under Pulis. How impressed are you with the job he's done so far?

Jim Daly: I've literally never been so impressed with anything in my life and I've visited all seven wonders of the world. (Ok, I haven't actually, in fact I don't even know what any of them are. I've been on the London Eye, does that count?) Anyway, TP has been brilliant since he's come in (although it must be noted the great work Keith Millen did as caretaker for a month which really set the scene for Pulis). The team just seen more confident, more organised and like they actually belong in the top flight. That has spread to the stands and the boardroom too, there is a bullishness about Palace at the moment that I've never seen before. That all comes down to Pulis.

Usually there's a peak under a new manager before a bit of a plateau and dip and ultimately a return to the norm. Has this happened to you? What's your current form like?

JD: Yes, well the last few weeks have been poor but I wouldn't say it's a return to norm, I just think TP got the last few games wrong. His lineup and tactics v Man Utd and Southampton were too defensive, against two team's whose form going into the games was poo. The same thing happened against Swansea but TP was brave enough to haul off Tom Ince and change it about and Palace won a point. We are changed team from under Holloway and now Pulis has added Ince, Dann and Ledley it's his team. I think that form will pick up again before the end of the season, I just hope it does in enough time.

Similarly, we've improved under Poyet but find ourselves in the bottom 3, though with games in hand. Have you seen much of us since he came in? Any thoughts?

JD: I think there are quite a few parallels between Sunderland and Palace this season, the squads are fairly similar I'd say but in the manager's dugout it's a man having his first go at the Premier League against a man with years or experience at this level. I think (well, hope) this will give Palace the edge in the last few weeks. I saw Sunderland down at Selhurst back in August but both teams have changed so much since then. I saw the League Cup final a few weeks back and was so impressed with you lot; plenty of confidence and a quality goal from Borini. If you play with that sort of passion against us, we will really have out work cut out.

Tactically, Pulis has a bit of unfair reputation and is a bit underrated in my view. Has he employed a similar system as the one he used at Stoke or has he tweaked it to suit the players available at Selhurst?

JD: To be fair to him the first few games were not that direct - mainly because we don't really have many big cloggers at either end of the season. Approach under TP has been to get the ball to the wingers and them to run at fall backs with the midfielders arriving late in the box to pick up any pieces. Now Glenn Murray has returned the long balls have started to surface. Against Southampton it was the most 'Pulis-ball' approach we'd seen yet under TP. And it didn't work. I hope they avoid it.

Who should we look out for in your side?

JD: Yannick Bolasie is a frustrating one. He's a powerful lad with lots of pace and can cause full backs problems but half the time doesn't really know what he's doing with the ball. And crucially has poor delivery. But if he's on it, he can be a problem. Murray is great up front and desperate to do well after missing 2/3 of the season. Tom Ince, if he plays, has the ability to unlock a defence. Those are the guys we'll be looking to be on their game.

Anyone you fear from ours?

JD: As I mentioned, Borini. He looks class and could cause the lumbering Damien Delaney a problem. Out wide Adam Johnson has lots of ability and with Dean Moxey back in the team I'd target things down the left if I were you.

Who do you think will be relegated?

JD: I think Fulham are gone and I think Cardiff will join them, that gamble on Solskjear hasn't worked. Then it's one place for the rest of us and I really can't call it. I think Norwich and West Brom are in trouble too. There's never been a better chance for Palace to stay up and if we do go down, it will all be our own fault.

And to more pressing matters, what do you think the score will be this weekend?

JD: Similar to the Swansea game I'd imagine, you'll dominate early on but we'll stick at it and come in our own in the second half. 1-1.

Cheers to Jim for taking the time to share some insight on Palace ahead of the six pointer this weekend. Be sure to check out the excellent Five Year Plan website as well as their Twitter page @FYPFanzine. Jim's also on Twitter, here @jimdalycomedy

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