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FAN FOCUS: The Eagles Beak Talk SAFC v Crystal Palace

We caught up with Jay, editor of The Eagles Beak and contributor to The Five Year Plan, to discuss Alan Pardew, Connor Wickham and Crystals nightclub ahead of Tuesday nights game.

Clive Rose/Getty Images

What do you make of your season so far? Pardew seems to be mirroring what he did at Newcastle - a good start followed by a big dip in form.

A season of two halves to use one of the common sayings in football. It was a great start and a fully fit squad of players managed to get us into the top four in the Premier League and everything really was smelling of roses. Then came the injuries, loss of form and suspensions. We stumbled to the end of the year by reaching a great points tally.

In the two months since then we have only managed one point and the lovely smelling roses have all wilted with the petals slowly but surely dropping to the floor - meanwhile, we have managed to save our best form for the FA Cup.

Some would say that a low finish and reaching the FA Cup Final would be acceptable but the league form we are experiencing is getting more than a little frustrating now. It is the worst run of injuries that I can remember as a fan but that is certainly not making excuses. Some of the defeats have been quite awful and this seems to be a common trend with Pardew as manager.

Hopefully, as he is a former Palace player, he will not receive the pressure he got at Newcastle allowing him the chance to turn things around. I think we can be thankful that we had such an excellent start come the end of the season.

Will pulling back the two goals against West Brom bring some renewed confidence going into Tuesdays game? Or is it more a case of being stuck in a rut now?

Very much stuck in a rut in the league. Nothing at all is working for us but there was really no excuse for that first half display against the Baggies. It was truly appalling and we paid the ultimate price in the end.

However, the second half was so much better and if only for a couple of poor refereeing decisions, we could have got a point, perhaps more. You just do not get the luck when you are in a bad run of form and that is what we are finding at the moment - a soft penalty given against us at home to Watford and two waved away that were arguably clearer against West Brom.

It is tough but we need to force our luck to change and suddenly all eyes turn to our trip to the Stadium of Light. Lose this game and our downward spiral suddenly turns a little bit more serious if is not so already.

Connor Wickham split opinion during his time at Sunderland, what's the general consensus amongst the Crystal Palace supporters?

The fans are quite split actually but that has been more to do with two spells out injured and a suspension for a stupid elbow on Jan Vertonghen (even though I maintain that the shirt pulling should have been called for first!).

I have always been a fan of Wickham and it is still hard to believe his age, he seems to have been around for such a long time. Our formation really does work with him as the lone striker. He has excellent games away at Chelsea and at home to Newcastle and Southampton while also impressing with his brace against the Baggies. However, we have to avoid something that would be familiar to you guys in that playing him out of position simply does not work.

Play him to his strengths and he will get goals and I am confident that he will prove to be a good signing in the long term.

You're in the middle of a great FA Cup run, beating three good sides on your way to the quarter finals, can you go all the way?

In our last five FA Cup ties we have been drawn against FIVE Premier League sides and while we only lost one of those (Liverpool last season), the magic of the competition is more about playing different teams rather than the ones you face week in week out so you could say we have been unlucky. However, it is difficult to complain seeing as we have seen off all but one of them and now find ourselves with a favourable draw against Championship side Reading.

We are not kidding ourselves though, this is by no means an easy game whatsoever but get past them and we find ourselves at Wembley and then who knows. It would be nicer going into this game having picked up a win in the league though.

Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha obviously stand out as big attacking threats, anyone else you think we should be particularly worried about going into the game?

Connor Wickham. No doubt about it. His two goals at the weekend will have done him the power of good ahead of a trip to his former club, particularly the second which was a great strike. Hopefully Yannick will start after a recent return from injury who will be returning to the scene of his hat-trick performance from last season so hopefully more of the same.

With both wingers starting the game, they will create plenty for Wickham who I hope will be the lone striker in this one to benefit from such ammunition.

Crystals Nightclub - please tell me you've been and that you saw Pards in there, sitting in a VIP booth, surrounded by many beautiful ladies?

It was a crazy night and I would love to let you all have the details but you know how it is, what happens in Crystals stays in Crystals ....

Any memories of past visits to the Stadium of Light/Roker Park?

Obviously, the game last season was something quite special from our perspective but I also recall a certain play off game in May 2004 which we ended up winning 5-4 on penalties to see us through to the final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Heading to Wearside 3-2 up from the first leg we found ourselves 2-0 down at half time, being out-played and going down to ten men we were suddenly up against it. Then that injury time header from centre back Darren Powell to send the game to penalties which we dramatically won courtesy of Michael Hughes.

How do you see Palace lining up for the game?

I am hoping that we return to the formation that suits us best which is - Hennessey, Ward, Kelly, Dann, Delaney, Ledley, Cabaye, Mutch, Zaha, Bolasie, Wickham

Finally, a prediction please?

I have said this every week so far in 2016 but I really feel that this will be the game where we end our terrible run of form, so 2-1 to Palace.

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