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Hopkin Looking To Curl One…

A regular blog dedicated to Crystal Palace Football Club through the eyes of a fanatical supporter, contemplating everything from results to the colour of Stuart O'Keefe's boot laces…

Archive for the month “May, 2013”

Incoming! Potential Summer Arrivals

Daniel Taylor casts his eye over a selection of potential summer arrivals in SE25…

With the summer upon us in the footballing world and that magical £120M jackpot from last Monday’s play-off final, Crystal Palace have a few decisoins to make in regards to players in and out of the club. Here’s a short-list of players that Parish and Co may want Ollie to look into as well as some of Ollie’s interests according to recent rumours.

Jay Tabb: Central Midfielder, Reading, 29

The Royals midfielder is reaching the end of his contract and his experience in the Premier League may be beneficial to us as we aim to make ourselves a contender in the Premier League next season. With Reading’s relegation there may be a few players looking for a shortcut into the top flight this summer.

Florent Malouda: Left Midfielder, Chelsea, 32

The Chelsea veteran has been out of favour at Stamford Bridge for a while now, although his wages may not be a realistic expense. His experience is vital and he’s got a decent delivery so with him out of contract and us with a few pennies in our pocket, we may be able to win him round with a pay as you play deal.

Nicky Shorey: Left Back, Reading, 32

Shorey has spent a few years in the top flight, with Aston Villa before Reading, and with The Royals going down he’ll want to make himself available to Premier League clubs. With Moxey and the soon to return Parr, he may be a good addition but not necessarily vital.

Carlton Cole: Striker, West Ham, 29

Not a huge fan but with Premier League miles under his belt and an ability to hold up the ball to put others into play, Carlton Cole is someone who can be put up top alone and make a change.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher: Striker, Blackpool, 31

A previous employee of Holloway in the Premier League and a seasoned veteran striker, Mr TF may give us a striker of worth whilst Murray is nursed back to health.

Danny Butterfield: Right Back, Southampton, 33

Who can forget that incredible hatrick in the cup against Wolves a few years ago? Danny Butterfield, a player of experience and Palace folklore may be worth reeling back to Selhurst to give Ward some tips on Premier League life and cover his back when necessary. Not the pace we need but defensive ability that’s always valued.

Clint Hill: Centre Back, QPR, 34

Another Ex-Palace boy that many will remember as a Hillsborough hero, would be welcomed back with open arms from Loftus Road. His defensive qualities and leadership is what we would desire should Delaney or Rambo be out of action and someone who knows his way around Selhurst.

Emmerson Boyce: Centre Back, Wigan, 33

Unlikely to leave Wigan should he be offered a new deal but a former Palace player that we can be proud of. Boyce led Wigan to an FA Cup this season and would have invaluable experience in the Premier League that we need to acquire this summer. With Wigan’s relegation he may look for a way into the Premier League with his former club.

DJ Campbell: Striker, QPR, 31

We may not be able to match the financial package that QPR could be giving him but if he falls out of contract there he could be worth acquiring. A proven goal scorer and as I’ve said, we need one while Murray recovers.

Alex Baptiste: Centre Back, Blackpool, 27

A former employee of Holloway in the top flight, a very big lad at the back who could cover one of our current tag team of Delaney & Rambo. Having his old boss in our changing room might persuade him to join us in the Prem.

Carlos Javier Acuna: Winger, Real Madrid Castillo, 24

The Real Madrid C winger has been on loan at Girona this season and has netted a great 19 goals for the second tier Spanish side. With Wilf off to United this might just be the perfect replacement and Ollie has already registered his interest. However, Boro and Bolton are in the chase too so maybe our top flight status will win the Paraguayan over.

Peter Odemwingie: Striker, 31, West Brom

The Nigerian international has been out of favour with The Baggies since his attempt to get into QPR by unorthodox means. However, Palace have shown interest for Odemwingie in the past so maybe we pick up where we left off and make a charge.

David Bentley: Winger, 28, Blackburn Rovers

Bentley has spent this season on loan at White Hart Lane but been a very bit part character in AVB’s plans. With his contract at Ewood Park on it’s final knockings, the Peterborough born England international will look elsewhere for first team football. Selhurst Park may just be that place. Fun Fact: Bentley is one of three players to score a hatrick against Man United at Old Trafford; Dirk Kuyt and most recently Romano Lukaku are the only other players to share this stat.

Tom Ince: Winger/Attacking Midfielder, 21, Blackpool

Paul Ince’s son has shone at Blackpool and has earned himself a few England U21,19 & 17 caps. Tom has scored 28 goals in his career, two a piece at Notts County on loan and England U21s with the other 24 coming at his current club, Ollie’s old stomping ground, Blackpool.

Now in an ideal world, Palace will look to acquire players to cover all positions but that’s not going to happen. Personally, I think we need defensive cover and a goalscorer, accompanied by two quick and clever wingers to give that goalscorer his opportunities. I for one am looking forward to the summer’s ins and outs and whether any of the above players are included in Ollie’s plans.

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No Time For Sentiment

Bradley Russell looks at the areas requiring reinforcement ahead of our campaign in the Premier League.

Ian Holloway said it best himself when proclaiming that he will celebrate Crystal Palace’s playoff victory on Tuesday and face an almighty panic on Wednesday. Almost as soon as the final whistle was blown at Wembley, bookmakers up and down the land installed Palace as odds-on favourites to go straight back down to the nPower Championship, where they have spent the last eight years scratching and clawing to even gain a foothold in the division.

Now, though, it is time to look forwards and not backwards; silly season has already started in some circles but it is time for Holloway to be pragmatic and preach evolution rather than revolution. Yet he must do so without sentiment and without making the same mistakes that relegated Blackpool only two seasons prior to this one.

Nine months ago, even the most optimistic Palace fan would have been hard-pressed to name a handful of players who could survive, let alone thrive in the Premiership, but time makes fools of us all. Julian Speroni, perhaps on longevity alone, deserves a place in the starting line-up with Joel Ward oozing Premier League class and filling Nathaniel Clyne’s berth with ease. Whilst Owen Garvan and Peter Ramage have signed new deals, Holloway must not allow his heart to rule his head when deciding on the rest of the team. It is likely that Holloway will stick with one up front and two wingers occupying the flanks so the most obvious incomings will be personnel to replace Glenn Murray and the departing Wilfried Zaha.

To replace a 30-goal striker is hard enough but to replace a man who lit up Wembley with his tricks and turns may prove to be an impossible job. Tom Ince would be a fantastic coup for the club, as would Nathan Redmond. On the goalscoring side of things, Adam Le Fondre seems like a no-brainer. A striker on relatively low wages who can hit the back of the net in the Premier League is hard to come by and he would thrive with good service, much like Murray did throughout the season.

Some current squad members may have to prove themselves or face being replaced: O’Keefe, Moritz, Delaney and Parr could perform well at the top level but it is very hard to tell at this stage. On the flip side, Holloway doesn’t want to leave it too late to recruit personnel.

If there was one criticism of Holloway from his previous outing in the Premier League, it was that he was too loyal to the players who got him there. Even the most blinkered Crystal Palace fan will feel that the first team would need, ideally, around five or six players to give themselves a fighting chance of reaching the magical 40 point mark. Norwich’s example is a good one to follow. They filled their squad with hungry talent from the Championship such as Johnny Howson and Robert Snodgrass and they have reaped the rewards by performing admirably in both of their seasons in the top flight, epitomised by their courageous display in a 3-2 win at the Etihad. Should we look at starlets like Nakhi Wells or approach people who have the ‘experience’ but have big egos to match? Holloway’s biggest challenge will be getting the balance right as well as ensuring this tightly-knit group isn’t fragmented by new upstarts.

The future is bright for Crystal Palace. Many players and fans will enjoy the break but Ian Holloway cannot rest on his laurels. For him, the hard work starts right now and will continue right until the transfer window slams shut. Between now and then we will be linked with every name imaginable. Let’s enjoy it whilst we can.

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