It’s been a poor 2016 for the Eagles as they have gone 12 games without a victory in the Premier League, and have slipped to 15th in the league after being fifth at Christmas.
It’s a plight that needs correcting, but tonight Pardew’s players can forget about the league and focus on a opportunity that could see Palace play at Wembley in the semi-final.
Pardew knows all about the romance of the cup, as he scored the vital goal in 1999 which knocked out Liverpool and booked Palace’s place at the final against Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United; but Palace lost over two legs.
Previous meetings in the league between the two sides have produced 24 goals; so fans could expect an entertaining game at the Madejski this evening.
Striking woes for Palace
Palace do have a few injuries to key players; Connor Wickham is out again after his flurry of goals in the recent Premier League games. Marouane Chamakh who has had a torrid time of injuries this season, tore his abductor in an under-21 game which means he faces another lengthy period on the sidelines.
But on a positive note, Jason Puncheon has returned from his hamstring injury and Pardew has said he will be available for the game.
FA Cup providing welcome distract from mediocre league showing
After sacking former West Brom manager Steve Clarke, the board at Reading returned to a man they know very well and one that got them promoted into the Premier League, McDermott.
And since coming in, he has steadied the ship and has got the Royals in an outside chance of making the play-offs come the end of the season.
They are currently 12 points of the play-offs, but with the Championship being so unpredictable the Royals could make a late charge.
Last year they made the semi-finals of the FA Cup and they only narrowly lost to Arsenal, who went on to win the competition; this year they are looking to go one better.
They beat Premier League opposition in West Brom in the last round 3-1, and in all of their nine home games in 2016 Reading haven’t lost, drawing four and winning five.
Mixed news for the Royals
McDermott can welcome back influential striker Hal Robson-Kanu back into the side, as well as former Palace defender Paul McShane. But Reading’s top scorer Matej Vydra is doubtful for the clash tonight.
The game for Palace is by no means going to be a walk in the park, Reading are no pushovers and with Palace recent dismal run in the Premier League – the hosts could be confident of a shock.
But for Palace the incentive of reaching Wembley should be enough, and although league form hasn’t been good they are still dangerous. If they make it to the semi-finals not many sides will want to face Palace.