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PREVIEW: Crystal Palace vs Peterborough United


SO, PALACE will take their play-off dreams to the final day of the season today when relegation-threatened Peterborough United visit Selhurst Park.

With two teams looking to achieve different targets in the Championship, we could be in for an entertaining game of football in SE25, which is more than can be said for Tuesday night at Millwall.

Peterborough, known for their attacking style of play, need to win if they are to have a good chance of staying up, while Palace need at least a point to confirm their place in the play-offs.

Of course, goal difference comes into play but having worked out a number of scenarios, there are more unlikely ones than there are likely if they are to miss out.

A positive result for the Eagles means it looks like they will face fierce rivals Brighton & Hove Albion over two legs in the play-offs, with the first coming at Selhurst Park next Friday night.

Boss Ian Holloway insists his side will be a "handful" in the play-offs once they get there, but at the moment they are stumbling across the finishing line, and admittedly Brighton and Bolton Wanderers seem to be in better form going into them.

Who would have thought Palace could end up facing not only their biggest rivals to reach Wembley, but if they were to beat them and reach the final, they could then potentially meet former boss Dougie Freedman.

Put it this way, reaching the Premier League is going to be an incredibly tough task. Can Palace do it? Yes, of course, but the players will be itching to register their first win in nine matches tomorrow.

Peterborough will have no choice but to come out and attack Palace, but that could suit the Eagles and let them exploit a number of opportunities through Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie.

Glenn Murray does need a goal now, and he needs to be hitting form right now if Palace are going to do this.

In terms of the team, would you change anything? Would you change the formation or bring in a certain player to a certain position?

After Tuesday night's clean sheet, it's likely the backline of Joel Ward, Danny Gabbidon, Damien Delaney and Dean Moxey will remain unchanged while the midfield may need a slight tinker perhaps.

Peter Ramage has not featured in the last couple of games either so he will fighting for a starting place back in the side.

It could be a game to start Jonny Williams alongside Mile Jedinak and Owen Garvan, with the PFA Team of the Year trio Murray, Bolasie and Zaha doing the damage in the final third.

Garvan's passing and awareness was eye-catching at the Den on Tuesday and Palace have certainly missed him. He was replaced late on due to tiredness but he should start again tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Kagisho Dikgacoi just has not been the same player for a while now compared to the start of the season and it could be a good time to drop him now that Garvan is back.

Of course, there are a number of attacking options available to Holloway, such as Stephen Dobbie and Andre Moritz, who both offer good dead-ball technique, while let's not forget Kevin Phillips who certainly can make an impact if given enough time.

Meanwhile, Peterborough have sold out their entire allocation of tickets in the Arthur Wait Stand. Around 2,600 fans are expected to make the journey down, and apparently Posh have asked Palace for even more tickets due to high demand. Their main goal threats will come through Dwight Gayle up front, who is a nippy forward and has stepped up to Championship football superbly since joining from Dagenham & Redbridge in January.

Veteran Grant McCann is very good from set-pieces while Lee Tomlin normally operates down the left where he can cut inside. At the back, Michael Bostwick is well capable of striking a ball from range while Gabriel Zakuani provides an aerial threat from corners.

However, at home Palace have been outstanding this season and they will be wanting to end the league campaign on a high note and take a win into the play-offs for sure.

It will certainly be a fantastic ride. Are you ready?

PREVIEW: Crystal Palace vs Peterborough United

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