Match Preview: Crystal Palace vs Hull City


By - Tuesday 28th January, 2014

With Palace up to 16th in the Premier League, victory over fellow promoted club Hull City could put them within touching distance of mid-table


Phot by David Pinkney, used under Creative Commons (http://goo.gl/CJrcoV).

Despite defeat at the weekend to Championship club Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup, Crystal Palace will go into this match against ex-manager Steve Bruce’s Hull City in confident mood. Palace have only lost one of their last six home matches, a 3-0 reverse to a strong Newcastle United side. Whilst the Tigers lie five places above the home side in the table, only three points separate the two sides, and victory for the Eagles will see the two teams draw level on points and suck another side into the relegation battle.

Not that it will be easy however. Hull have fared the best so far of the three promoted clubs, despite Palace comprehensively outplaying and beating them 4-2 in the closing stages of last season’s Championship, and also registering their first away victory in the Premier League this season at the KC Stadium. Why are Hull performing better than Palace and Championship champions Cardiff City?

The experience of Steve Bruce, a name which still riles among Palace fans for his acrimonious departure from the club in 2001 with the club riding high in the Division One table, is surely a key factor. Being able to draw on his contacts to make key signings such as Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore and new arrival Nikica Jelavic has contributed to the Tiger’s higher points tally. Added to Bruce’s managerial experience in the Premier League, having led Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic and Sunderland at various stages has given Hull City the edge so far this season.

Lucky for Palace, then, that they now have a manager in Tony Pulis with similar levels of Premier League experience. Despite the fact that Palace have yet to make a player signing in the January transfer window, which may harm them in the long term, the Eagles’ improved form amongst individual players and the squad as a whole should give them a tremendous amount of confidence coming into the game.

Hull City have failed to register a victory at Selhurst Park in their previous ten visits, dating back to 1985

The return of club captain Paddy McCarthy in the defeat at Wigan should provide a further boost, even if the Irish defender will only feature on the bench at most. Palace seem set to continue with ever present Damien Delaney at centre back, joined by experienced campaigner Danny Gabbidon. Jonathan Parr had to be given oxygen whilst being stretchered off against Wigan at the weekend, and fortunately the Norwegian will only miss this game due to concussion rather than anything more serious.

Cameron Jerome is likely to return after being ineligible for the previous league victory against Stoke City, although Aaron Wilbraham has made a decent impression in the last two games, scoring against Wigan, and may feature. Palace have no new injury concerns, and Kagisho Dikgacoi and Jerome Thomas will face fitness tests, although both are unlikely to trouble the starting lineup. Glenn Murray is still progressing with his injury but is not ready to feature just yet.

Hull City meanwhile are likely to feature both Jelavic and fellow new signing Shane Long, both ambitious signings which could be the key to the Tigers survival – or indeed could be wage millstones if Hull were to be relegated at the end of the season. The likes of Sone Aluko and Joe Dudgeon will not feature due to injury. Tom Huddlestone returns to the side after being suspended for the FA Cup victory away at Southend United.

The omens are good for the Eagles; Hull City have failed to register a victory at Selhurst Park in their previous ten visits, dating back to 1985. Tony Pulis’ first game as Palace manager was that victory over City in November, even though the Welshman had no influence on team selection and was not present on the sidelines. He will therefore be chomping at the bit to record Palace’s first double of the season.

Prediction:

Crystal Palace 2 – 1 Hull City.

Tom Lickley

Tom Lickley

Contributing a variety of roles to the Citizen since early 2013, Tom now focuses upon regeneration, urbanism and real estate writing. He is a strategic communications consultant specialising in the real estate sector, and counts a number of the world's largest investment and fund management companies amongst his clients.

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