ADVERTISER columnist and Five Year Plan Fanzine editor ROBERT SUTHERLAND wants Eagles fans to cut their skipper a bit of slack...
Saturday's game with Burnley wasn't Mile Jedinak's greatest. His pass completion rate was just above 50%, and his errors led to the Clarets winning a penalty they barely deserved, with a wonderful Julian Speroni save digging our Aussie captain out of a hole.
We know that Jedinak is a slow starter, it took him a while to settle in at Palace, and he only really gets into the swing of things once he has a few games under his belt. But this time, it's a little different. It's clear that he's jaded.
The captain we've become accustomed to has an indomitable demeanour - he plays fair but if you're his opponent, he makes it his personal mission to defeat you. The Jedinak we saw on Saturday lacked some of that spirit - he just didn't look ready.
However, even a jaded Jedinak is better than no Jedinak. Palace don't have a player with his tenacity or leadership capable of filling boots his size. Looking at the club's midfield options currently, the only player who could have replaced him was Joe Ledley - which might have happened in the second half had the Welshman not pulled up with an injury doing warm ups.
Jedinak is a talisman in the Palace side. A leader by example. While the errors put a potentially bitter twist on his performance, he still contributed to the Eagles winning a point and his header in the first half also hit the bar.
What Jedinak could really do with is a long break - not from the team but from football entirely. A hard-fought previous season and a World Cup in Brazil really warranted recovery time, not just physically but also mentally; recovery time which he just can't and won't have.
While this isn't an ideal situation, Jedinak will keep fighting and he'll come through this a stronger player and character, and once his partnership with James McArthur gets going, we'll see a stronger, more potent midfield force take hold.
The Aussie is worth persisting with.