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Strikers hold key to Birmingham win for Crystal Palace

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THE international break is over and now we can get back to the Championship run-in, starting with Birmingham City at 5.30pm today.

And then a long trip to the north west awaits on Easter Monday as Ian Holloway takes the Eagles back to his former club Blackpool in search of another three points.

Aruna Dindane has been given a contract until the end of the season after training with Palace for the past few weeks and the striker could feature in both games.

Of course, Holloway's attacking options have now been boosted with four strikers at his disposal for the last eight games, and the signing of Dindane will help, with Kevin Phillips unable to face parent club Blackpool.

And with Wilfried Zaha set to miss the game with Birmingham today, we may see Dindane come in on the left or right, or we could see the likes of Stephen Dobbie or Andre Moritz step up to the plate.

Jonny Williams, who gave his growing reputation an even bigger boost on the international stage with Wales last Friday and Tuesday, could be set to take one of the central midfield berths alongside Mile Jedinak and Kagisho Dikgacoi.

Meanwhile, striker Glenn Murray says the team has enough quality to make do without Zaha and remembers the away game at St Andrew's in December for personal reasons.

"We're looking forward to the two games coming up now and we've had a nice rest – it's been good to recuperate with the group," he said.

"We've got plenty of strength in depth, so I'm sure we'll get by without Wilfried this time.

"We didn't lose the game at their place, we got a point, but it was nice for me to score up there and I believe it was my 20th of the season up there, so it was a good day personally."

Birmingham have hit a run of form in recent weeks and have managed to climb away from the relegation places.

And former Eagle Darren Ambrose, who has suffered a frustrating season with injury for the Blues, is now back to full fitness and is hoping to get some minutes at Selhurst Park on his return.

"We've always been confident and it's been a strange season for everyone in this league," he said.

"We've only lost two in the last 14 games, which were against Hull and Watford, but I don't think we deserved to be turned over, especially at Watford.

"Since I joined Birmingham, we know the sort of players we've got and we know we should be competing higher in the league, but you never know what could happen in the next few weeks.

"We're only seven points off the bottom three and we're eight or nine points off sixth, so it's a tight league and it's going to be an exciting end to the season."

And the 29-year-old says he has not been surprised by how well Palace have done this season.

"The first few games showed it could have been a long and hard season but then they picked up," said Ambrose.

"When I left, I said Palace still had some fantastic players and that they'd do well.

"Ian Holloway has come in now and he's another fantastic manager with his experience of getting teams promoted."

Strikers hold key to Birmingham win for Crystal Palace


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