Crystal Palace vs Middlesborough preview: Eagles desperate to improve home form against fellow strugglers

Crystal Palace vs Middlesborough preview: Eagles desperate to improve home form against fellow strugglers

The Eagles are still searching for a win at Selhurst park under boss Sam Allardyce, and face a strong Middlesborough defence this weekend.

Jordan Owusu-Adu

As the Premier League returns after the latest round of FA Cup fixtures, Crystal Palace are still yet to set 2017 on fire. 

Struggling Palace need to play ugly 

Just one win this year, manager Sam Allardyce’s only victory in charge, has left them second bottom in the table, with relegation becoming a realistic possibility.

Because of their form, Allardyce has admitted that they are “in a fight”.

“We got to be uglier than we have been,” he said in his press conference before the game.

“I’ve not managed to sort this club out as quick as I have the others, that’s the frustration for me. We must start getting results at home.”

The Eagles have struggled all season, but they’ve had major issues at Selhurst park, where they have only picked up two wins all season.

Middlesborough are on a similarly disappointing run, with no league win yet in 2017. Their last three points came in a 3-0 victory over Swansea City in December, and since then they’ve had four draws and four defeats.

Upbeat despite results

Despite the results, which leave them 16th in the table, Boro have only conceded more than one goal on two occasions. 

Manager Aitor Karanka believes that there is still a good feeling around the club.

“The people who come here to watch our training sessions to do interviews, everyone says the atmosphere here is really good and you don’t realise you are watching a session of a team in the relegation battle.

“We are in a good position, we are in the FA Cup quarter finals. If some told use three years ago we were going to be living this moment, I don’t think a lot of people would think we would be in this position now.”

In the previous fixture this season, Palace took all three points in a 2-1 win at the Riverside Stadium. Goals from Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha were enough for Palace who were then embarking on a five-game unbeaten run. 

Team News

Defender Scott Dann and winger Bakary Sako will not be returning to the squad as they continue to recover from hamstring injuries.

Jeffrey Schlupp will return after his own hamstring problems, however Frenchmen Loic Remy and Mathieu Flamini will be missing.

For the visitors, major doubts surround Callum Chambers, due to a stress fracture, and George Friend, because of a calf injury.