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PREVIEW: Crystal Palace v Ipswich Town

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PALACE may have a rare Saturday off tomorrow, but preparations for Tuesday's trip to Ipswich Town are well under way.

The Eagles' original fixture against Millwall was cancelled after the Lions reached the semi-final of the FA Cup, but that has since been rearranged for Tuesday, April 30.

Having a slight break can do some good, but on the back of recent results, Ian Holloway and his men would have probably wanted to get straight back out for the next game after last weekend's frustrating 0-0 draw with Barnsley.

Following the eight goals conceded in the previous three games, it was important to get back to basics with a clean sheet, but for those who witnessed last Saturday's game, Palace should have been comfortable winners.

Missed chances cost them, but at least it was an improvement from the recent blip against Brighton, Birmingham and Blackpool – maybe the failure to win has something to do with the opposition's first letter beginning with a B.

Ipswich are a different side to the one that lost 5-0 and marked Holloway's first game in charge back in November but, since then, Mick McCarthy has done a sterling job of dragging the Tractor Boys away from the drop zone.

McCarthy's side were set to play Hull City on Saturday, and of course, if they were to hold the Tigers, it would do Palace a slight favour for one of the automatic places.

However, their form previously has been impressive – they are unbeaten in their last five games, with their last defeat coming to Nottingham Forest at the start of March.

They seem to have good team spirit without any notable individuals and their defence has certainly improved dramatically with the pairing of Luke Chambers and Richard Stearman.

The arrival of Jay Tabb from Reading was also a clever signing and he has plenty of Championship experience under his belt, while the likes of David McGoldrick and Michael Chopra pose a threat in attack.

Despite the Eagles' away form in recent months, they do not have a bad record at Portman Road with just two defeats in their previous nine matches since 2002.

Holloway put out a strong starting XI against Barnsley, including the return of Joel Ward from injury, and the right-back's performance means he should keep his place on Tuesday.

Damien Delaney is set to return to the club that released him last summer, but one man who will definitely be missing is skipper Mile Jedinak, who picked up his tenth booking of the season against the Tykes and therefore misses the next two games, according to the club's media department.

He will, of course, be a big miss to the Eagles, so we could see Kagisho Dikgacoi deployed in the Australian's position with Jonny Williams, Andre Moritz and Alex Marrow battling it out for the other central midfield berths.

Depending on what formation Holloway plays, Moritz, Kevin Phillips or Stephen Dobbie can play in the hole behind Glenn Murray, while Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha should keep their wing positions.

Aruna Dindane might have a chance from the bench if he can improve his fitness in the next few days, and his confidence would have been boosted by scoring for the U21s last Monday.

PREVIEW: Crystal Palace v Ipswich Town


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