After James McArthur missed last weekend’s 2-2 draw with West Brom, thanks to an injury he sustained against Chelsea, Richard Cawley is reporting in the South London Press, that the Scotsman is back in contention for a starting role on Monday night against Sunderland.
Having played a pivotal role in our early season success in the centre of a midfield three that includes Mile Jedinak and Joe Ledley, McArthur’s calmness in possession and tenacity when without the ball is already rapidly turning him into a fan favourite at Selhurst Park, and now, having spent close to two weeks on the sidelines, his manager feels he may be ready to re-take his place in the team.
Speaking earlier this week, Warnock said:
“I thought he might be a couple of weeks but I wouldn’t write him off for Sunderland.
“He always wants to play. He wanted to stay on when he got his injury.”
With the possibility of both Damien Delaney and Scott Dann also returning to the starting eleven for the visit of Gus Poyet’s Black Cats, there could well be a real buzz around the ground prior to kick-off, with the potentially returning trio bringing a degree of steel back to the side, following a reshuffle against West Brom last Saturday.
After back-to-back defeats for Sunderland, within which they’ve conceded 10 goals and scored none, you would assume that their confidence will be extremely low, with the prospect of a trip to South London on a damp Monday night in front of the Sky cameras coming at precisely the wrong time.
Of course, there is always the potential for overconfidence from our perspective given the circumstances that surround the game, but having let a two goal lead slip in our last league outing against West Brom, I would suggest that the players will be desperate to put in a solid performance in a game that is already being viewed by some as a potential relegation six pointer.
Forgetting the desire for aesthetically pleasing football for a moment, I don’t think there is much doubt that the vast majority of Palace fans will take a victory on Monday evening in any way imaginable, ideally with James McArthur at the heart of everything that is good about our performance on the night.