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CRYSTAL PALACE: Five things Tony Pulis must do to get the Eagles' soaring

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TONY Pulis starts work in SE25 on Monday - here's five things he might just find in his in-tray.
1) Make Selhurst Park a fortress When Pulis was at Stoke, he made the Britannia Stadium the sort of place nobody wanted to play. Outside their battles with each other, the Champions League chasing clubs would always see Stoke away as their toughest game – a whirl of noisy fans, a tight pitch, and an organised, hard-working team . Arsenal, in particular, would bear testament to this. All the ingredients are there for Pulis to make SE25 a similar sort of place that the opposition dreads. A tight stadium and ferocious atmosphere generated by the outstanding Palace fans mean we're already halfway there. Tony's job is to get the team playing like Stoke did.2) Sign quality, rather than quantity, in January The fact Palace's promotion wasn't sealed until late May put the club at an immediate disadvantage when it came to planning for life in the top division. But, for all this, the club's summer transfer window strategy was flawed – few can argue otherwise. Too many players were signed too late, while you could also argue about the quality and added value provided by the new recruits (how many wingers does one squad need?) Tony Pulis' mantra, put simply, should be fewer, but better. Keeping the same squad between now and May isn't an option but, equally, another month of wholesale changes will just be counter-productive. The focus should, therefore, be on getting in three quality players to enhance the spine of the side – a mobile central defender, a central midfielder to play alongside Mile Jedinak, and most vitally, a goalscorer. 3) Get the best out of Jonny Williams He's been injured for most of the season but one of the big surprises in the early stages of the campaign was Williams' absence from the Palace starting line-up. Let's get this straight – Jonny Williams is Crystal Palace's best player, and by some distance. Joel Ward is gritty, Mile Jedinak at times inspirational, but Williams oozes quality and is the one Palace player who wouldn't look out of place in a top 4 team. Tony Pulis has a reputation for direct football but he isn't stupid. He needs to find room for Jonny and get the best out of this outstanding talent.4) Summon the spirit of 2012/13 Yes it's a cliché, but Palace's promotion last season was built, in part, on the goals of Glenn Murray and the outrageous talent of Wilf Zaha, but mainly on a fantastic team spirit. By August 31, this had (at least on the face of it) all but disappeared, shown by the capitulation against Fulham in Ian Holloway's last game in charge. Pulis had a spirited bunch at Stoke; he now needs everyone pulling in the same direction in SE25. If this puts the odd nose out of joint or dents the odd ego, so be it.5) Be lucky! What's that Napoleon quote about "lucky generals"? Ian Holloway was all set for a season-defining victory against Fulham, as Palace dominated the first quarter of the game. Then, a guy called Kasami scored the type of goal he hadn't managed in the past and he won't manage again. The result? Deflation and, in Holloway's case, resignation. Tony Pulis has Glenn Murray coming back to fitness, he has a director of football to ease his burden during the transfer window, and he has, if there is such a thing in the Premier League, a relatively friendly list of home games between now and Christmas. How Ian Holloway would have loved these in his favour.

CRYSTAL PALACE: Five things Tony Pulis must do to get the Eagles' soaring


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