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PREVIEW: Crystal Palace vs Cardiff City


PALACE head into Saturday's clash with Cardiff City in buoyant mood following a gritty 1-0 win on Tuesday against West Ham.

The Eagles have conceded just once in four games and have reached double figures in points for the season to catch up with the teams above them at the bottom of the Premier League.

Manager Tony Pulis may decide to name an unchanged starting line-up for the third game running, which will include strike duo Marouane Chamakh and Cameron Jerome.

Both impressed against the Hammers and Pulis has hinted he wants the pair to build a working relationship for the team.

Julian Speroni has certainly been a key figure at the back and says Saturday's game is "massive".

"Cardiff will be tough of course and there's no time to relax and enjoy what happened against West Ham," he said.

"We had a day off on Wednesday and then we'll focus on what we're going to do on Saturday.

"It's a massive game. We need to be strong at home and we know that.

"We are going to try to win the game, for sure, and let's see what happens.

"We need to pick up as many points at home."

Joel Ward, Dean Moxey, Damien Delaney and Danny Gabbidon look set to continue at the back, and Ward in particular hailed Chamakh for his goal on Tuesday.

"He created some great chances and was maybe unlucky not to take a few more," said Ward.

"All credit to him, he works so hard and puts in a big shift for the team. He showed that.

"He brings a different threat in the air for us.

"He's a great lad and works hard for us.

"Any striker, you want them inside the area and doing what they do best."

Meanwhile, Yannick Bolasie sits out his final match of a three-game ban following his red card against Hull City, so Jason Puncheon may continue on the left.

However, Jimmy Kebe came off the bench on Tuesday night and will be pushing for a start.

Barry Bannan will certainly be one of the first names on the teamsheet after a number of impressive displays, including his inch-perfect delivery for Chamakh to score on Tuesday.

Cardiff came away with a point following a goalless draw at Stoke City on Wednesday night, so a Palace win could close the gap on both sides come 5pm tomorrow.

However, Malky Mackay's men have now won just once in their last eight games, so it is a good time to play them, especially with Chelsea next on the Eagles' fixture list.

The Bluebirds have accumulated six points on the road ahead of the trip to Palace, with only three of their seven games away from Wales having ended in defeat.

And midfielder Jordon Mutch wants Saturday's visitors to pick up their away form as they head to SE25.

"We must take our home form away – if we do that we can pick up quite a few points," he said.

"Our aim is to do the business on Saturday. We are capable of winning against Crystal Palace and will do all we can to achieve that.

"It felt weird playing a midweek match at Premier League level because it's not often something you do in this league."

An Eagles win will take them up to 13 points and just one behind Cardiff. Bottom club Sunderland, who lost 4-3 at home to Chelsea on Wednesday, host Tottenham, while Fulham do not play until Sunday against Aston Villa.

And West Ham travel to an impressive Liverpool side this weekend, although a Hammers defeat at Anfield and a Palace win will not be enough for the Eagles to climb out of the relegation zone due to inferior goal difference.

PREVIEW: Crystal Palace vs Cardiff City

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