Hopefully the low point on Friday will be when I encounter the massed hordes of Nigels at London Bridge and from then it will only get better. This is a match that could go one of three ways as is reflected in the odds: evens a home win, draw 23/10. Glaziers 11/4.
We have won our last three league matches against Palace at The Valley: 2-1 in 1999/2000, 2-0 in 2007/8 and 1-0 in 2008/9.
The pundits were not too optimistic about Palace's prospects at the beginning of the season. Four Four Two had them finishing 20th. The Football League Paper had them in 23rd with only Millwall below them. The Times had them in 20th 'with only the most optimistic supporters predicting anything but struggle.'
However, there has been something of a sea change in attitudes since the win over Sheffield Wednesday. In part, however, this reflects the media tendency to salivate over gritty northern teams, perhaps to show that they do not have a metropolitan bias. In the earlier part of last season it was draw specialists Huddersfield before they were dealt with at The Valley. Since then the Massives have been overrated so too much is being read into the Palace victory over them. Suddenly, Palace are seen as contenders for a play off place.
Keeper Speroni is one of Palace's better players and he made a couple of excellent saves to keep Wednesday out in the first half. In defence, Darcy Blake offered a solid performance on his home debut. Ex-Ipswich man Damien Delaney made a solid debut and settled in seamlessly. Peter Ramage offered an assured display at the heart of the Palace defence. However, Jonathan Parr was given a torrid time by Antonio and was skinned a number of times.
Owen Garvan offered a great delivery and was neat and tidy in possession. Jedinak was fierce in the tackle and protected his defence well. Moritz looks like a real find for Palace. He shows real talent on the ball and was a menace going forward against the Massives. Zaha has been seen as a transfer target for a Premiership club for some time.
Bolasie was always a threat in possession and Glenn Murray held the ball up well and scored two good goals.
Palace are no pushover and the most likely result in my view is a draw. However, I take personal heart from the fact that Leamington beat deadly rivals Stourbridge 2-1 last night in a FA Cup replay away from home. I would be more than satisfied with a last minute goal delivering victory on Friday.