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What Palace say: Allardyce 'I don't know what Sunderland fans think of me' - Neither do we, Sam!

Tomorrow's pre-match build-up is all about three things - Sunderland facing the man who walked out on the club in the summer, ultimately for precious little gain; Patrick van Aanholt facing his former club; and the not-so-small matter of three points being up for grabs in a desperate relegation six-pointer. Here's what tomorrow's opposition are saying about the game.

AFC Bournemouth v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

The Manager

We're all fully familiar with who the opposition manager is tomorrow, and what he'll say and bang on about. So with Sam Allardyce in front of the media this afternoon ahead of his first match against the club he left in the summer, there was the usual smattering of talk about clean-sheets and him claiming credit for a remarkable turnaround in Palace's fortunes - with one win in the league in the six games since he took over.

Watford v Crystal Palace  - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Big Sam said he is unsure about how Sunderland fans now view the man who walked out in the summer and promptly threw away his dream England job. When asked what reception he might get from the visiting supporters tomorrow, he said:

I don't really know. (There was) no way I could turn the England job down, (so I'm) sure they'll be okay.

Allardyce said that he thinks Patrick van Aanholt, fresh from switching from Sunderland to Crystal Palace during the week, will be "okay" too in the face of some likely stick from the away section tomorrow afternoon.

The Player

So, new Palace full-back Patrick van Aanholt has raised a few headlines with his pre-match comments this morning adding to the hype surrounding this relegation six-pointer.

The 26-year-old clearly unaware that, at times, he was as much a part of the problem at Sunderland as every one of his now former colleagues whom he now doesn't think are very good, boasted that just everything about his new club and teammates are superior to those he left behind mere days ago:

Individually we are better, we have a lot of good players here.

I think we have a better team here at Palace than we did last year – not to be disrespectful to the Sunderland players.

Certain Sunderland players may even have a reason to pay special attention to van Aanholt's well known weaknesses when they face each other tomorrow.

Adnan Januzaj is one who is likely to be directly pitted against the Palace full-back and after a couple of niggles between the Belgian and his Dutch former teammate in recent weeks, there may be a little edge to some encounters. If rumours are correct, there may one or two others with a score to settle tomorrow with the man occupying the opposition left-back berth.

The Fans

Palace fans seem pretty sold on the prospect of Big Sam saving them this season - it tends to help when you've just spent £26m, of course.

One member - calling himself Straightbackup - on decent enough Palace forum, Holmesdale.net, was this morning suggesting words like those spoken by Patrick van Aanholt about his former club often come back to bite the purveyor on the proverbial arse:

Very dangerous and potentially very counter productive. He's just given his old team mates a massive incentive to prove him wrong. I really hope this doesn't come back to bite us on the arse.

Though this poster, going by the name Eaglecoops, appears to rate van Aanholt's ability to assess a new group of players in just a matter of a few days as highly as the man himself:

PVA says we are a better team than Sunderland based on his first weeks assessment of our club. How much of that is transfer speak I don't know however I'll take his opinion as heartfelt and go for a 2-0 Palace win.

As for the game itself, most Palace fans are confident of victory - though we've yet to happen across any opposition fans who aren't at the prospect of facing Sunderland this season.

Kermit8 was quite impressed that we managed to hold Spurs at bay on Tuesday night:

That clean sheet v Tottenham was impressive so reckon this will be a very low-scoring encounter. 1-0 to us or 1-1.

Though someone calling themselves ParchmoreEagle had noted our tendency to concede one or two in the first half of most games before Tuesday night:

In the nerves department I'd say Sunderland will under more pressure than us. I say keep the same team for this one as Defoe could exploit our defenders getting used to each other. Hoping 2-0 or 3-0+ as the floodgates will open should they concede early.

Let the games commence.