Very impressed – from the moment Alan Pardew arrived. After a disastrous start of having Tony Pulis leave 48 hours before the new season, Neil Warnock steadied the ship initially before results became mixed. Pardew has installed belief, confidence and swagger around the place. The players play for him, they enjoy working with him and he wants the club to move onto the next level. These are exciting times at Selhurst Park.
Most definitely. Palace mean serious business and I can see them bringing in more signings on par with Cabaye. The midfield area is packed at the moment, so I can only see further additions coming in defence and attack. As for Cabaye himself, the guy will bring class and shape the way Palace attack sides. He can sit in front of the defence or play ‘in the hole’ behind a lone striker – Pardew has so many options.
Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy has been brought in from QPR and possesses big potential, but at present he is the third choice behind Julian Speroni and Wayne Hennessey. The latter has been heavily linked with a move away lately. Patrick Bamford has done it at League One and Championship level, so now he has the chance to push on further. He’s a big, big talent and if he can succeed on loan at Palace, Chelsea will have a superstar on their hands. Initially, I can’t see him starting every match – but if he starts well and scores goals, then Pardew has a welcome selection headache.
A massive difference. As I mentioned above, he’s brought a whole new dimension to Palace. You can tell the enthusiasm and confidence has rubbed off on the players and I can see it continuing much further. Pardew has big plans for the club and wants to take them forward, no doubt. If all goes to plan, we could see Palace competing in the Europa League in future years.
Brede, on a personal level, is a delight to work with. He always has time for anyone and is a very honest professional. On the pitch, he proved to be an excellent squad member last season and filled in when required. He had a little run in the side under Warnock, but his quality and experience was noted quickly by Pardew, who offered him a new contract for this season. Brede is also big influence and helps the younger players, too.
I expect a good game, for sure. Both sides will step up their performance a week before the new campaign and I would like to see both fielding their strongest line-ups. However, Palace do have another game – their last pre-season friendly – 48 hours later against Dagenham and Redbridge, so Pardew will probably rotate his squad quite a bit.
Tickets for this fixture are priced at just £10 adults and £1 for juniors in all areas of the ground. Supporters are encouraged to purchase in advance, with prices rising to £15 and £5 respectively on matchday.