Season Preview: Crystal Palace

Last updated : 05 August 2005 By Nik Taylor
How did you fare last season?
Relegated in the last ten minutes of the season! It was a real kick in the teeth, but we've had a good pre-season and the fans are really positive about the start of the season now.

How do you expect you'll do this season?
We'll be somewhere in the top six. Expectations around the club are definitely for a top-two finish, but it never pays to be over-optimistic when it comes to Palace.

What have you done on the transfer market this summer? Which of your new signings are you expecting most from?
Three players have come in so far. Darren Ward (centre back) from Millwall, Jobi McAnuff (right winger) from Cardiff and Jon Macken (striker) from Man City.
They all look strong players, but I think the most exciting is McAnuff. He's come in as a replacement for Wayne Routledge and the signs in pre-season have been that he could be as good, if not better than, his predecessor.
Where do you think you'll need to strengthen in the January transfer window?
Midfield. I'm very surprised we haven't already brought in a creative central midfielder. We have a lot of battlers in the middle at the moment, but not enough genuine class.

Have you any promising youngsters breaking into the team?
Tom Soares is one who's come through the youth team and could make his mark this season. He got a few Premiership starts last year and acquitted himself pretty well out on the left wing. He's definitely got the opportunity to make that place his own.

Have you got the right man in charge of the team? Will he still be there at the end of the season?
Without a shadow of a doubt. I personally wouldn't want any other manager in charge of Palace, and I reckon most Palace fans would agree with that. Iain Dowie is already a legend at Selhurst Park. The fans love him and so do the players.

Is the club being run well? Are you likely to be singing 'Sack the board' any time soon?
Simon Jordan, our chairman, tends to get mixed reactions from the fans. I think he's running the club well, and he's won over a lot of the supporters from his stance over the whole Andrew Johnson saga.

Which team do you most want to beat and why?
Brighton. Anyone who started going to Palace in the 70s and 80s sees Brighton as the main rivals for Palace. It's always nice to put one over on the likes of Millwall, but Brighton's where the real needle is. Would be great to see AJ put another hat-trick past them as he did three years ago.

Who do you think's going up?
I think Norwich will storm to the title if they can keep their defence tight. I reckon we'll take second spot and then you're probably looking at Sheffield United from the play-offs.

Who do you think's going down?
Brighton, Millwall, Watford. The last two are in disarray, and Brighton just aren't good enough.

How do you reckon Hull City will fare in the Championship?
A solid mid-table spot, I would think. Good luck for the coming season.

Nik Taylor is the editor of Crystal Palace-Mad.