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PREVIEW: Crystal Palace v Sunderland

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SATURDAY is a great opportunity for Palace to claim their first three points of the season when Sunderland come to SE25.

Having narrowly lost the first two games, the Eagles will be looking to give a good account of themselves on home soil, backed by another sold out crowd.

After this weekend, the next game is not until September 14 when Ian Holloway's side travel to Manchester United, so it would be ideal to get the first points on the board before heading into the international break.

If you didn't know, the game has been selected for Sky television coverage with a 5.30pm kick-off, but another bumper crowd is expected in SE25.

It was a disappointing display and result at Bristol City on Tuesday, and not many of the players can say they did enough to be in Holloway's first choice XI this weekend.

However, Jonny Williams has impressed so far after his two appearances from the bench against Spurs and Stoke City, so he will be hoping to get a chance from the start.

The wide areas are crying out for some creativity at the moment, but the game might be too soon for Yannick Bolasie to come back despite returning to light training, while Jerome Thomas seems to be another two weeks away at the maximum. But loan signing Jason Puncheon will be available and looks set to start on the right.

Marouane Chamakh is expected to keep his place after his first goal for the club last Saturday at the Britannia Stadium, while Dwight Gayle looks set to partner him.

However, we should probably expect Kevin Phillips to come on and make an appearance against the club he made his name at – and it would be interesting to see what he'd do if he scored too. A good reception is anticipated from the travelling support.

Owen Garvan did his chances of a recall no harm after his sublime goal at Bristol City, while skipper Mile Jedinak and Kagisho Dikgacoi may play the holding roles again.

At the back, Julian Speroni will come back into the side after being rested in midweek, as will the likes of Joel Ward, Danny Gabbidon, and Damien Delaney.

However, should Gallas sign, he will present another option for Holloway, as will Jonathan Parr, who we understand is very close to returning from injury.

Sunderland, on the other hand, have a host of new names in their squad after Di Canio made several changes over the summer.

They, like Palace, will be looking to get that first league win of the season after losing on the opening day against Fulham, while last weekend they had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Southampton, with former Palace defender Jose Fonte scoring a late equaliser for the hosts.

They also had to come from two goals down to beat Milton Keynes Dons in the Capital One Cup as well on Tuesday, scoring four late goals to win the tie.

Italian international Emanuele Giaccherini is class act and is clearly the man to watch from the opposition, while Adam Johnson is a tricky customer with an eye for goal on either flank.

Meanwhile, David Vaughan was linked with a move to Palace in June and may also feature in the middle of the park.

If the Palace faithful can get behind the team as always then anything is possible, and this could well be the first three points of the season.

After all, if they're to have any chance of staying up, they will need to be winning their home games, especially against teams like Sunderland.

Advertiser Sport can see the Eagles coming away with a 2-1 victory.

PREVIEW: Crystal Palace v Sunderland


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