EAGLES columnist SAM ROSS is hoping for a rare league double over Charlton this weekend but is looking for more entertainment value than the previous game at The Valley earlier this season.
THE win at Charlton back in September kick started Palace’s season and this weekend’s return fixture is another vital game for the Eagles at a crucial time of the season.
This time last year Palace had just gone out of the League Cup to Cardiff City and were without a league win in 2012.
Things didn’t get much better as they gained just three wins in the remainder of the season.
Palace fans are worried about this being repeated and the players’ concentration levels must be at their highest if they are to secure their aim and achieve a play-off place come late April or better, an automatic promotion spot.
Having said this, let’s focus on that after this Saturday.
After the Huddersfield match tonight, the next three matches against Charlton, Watford and Middlesbrough are three must-win games but for completely different reasons.
Let the Watford and Middlesbrough games be the focus for the promotion push but the Charlton game be a good old classic.
Ian Holloway’s style isn’t defensive and this can only be a good thing for this game, which should be full of emotion, passion and quality from both sides.
London derbies are unique and the chance to do the double over the Addicks is something very rare.
The last time was in the play-offs in 1996 and before that way back in the 1989/90 season.
Victory on Saturday will not just provide bragging rights but it will hopefully prove what London derbies all about to Charlton after the shocker they served up at The Valley back in September.
That game was played at a pretty poor standard throughout, the atmosphere was almost non-existent from the home stands and the organisation outside the ground was amateurish. On Monday seats at Selhurst were already limited and I have no doubt the atmosphere on Saturday will be far better.
I just pray the game rises to the expectations and Charlton don’t come planning to sit back and play for a draw.
Thankfully with Chris Powell at the helm that is unlikely to happen because he will want revenge just as much as the fans do.
The Eagles have already hosted great derbies against Millwall and Brighton, both for different reasons.
I would happily take a game like the 2-2 draw at home to Millwall, regardless if it affects the standings come the end of the season.
The Millwall game was an end-to-end thriller and terrific battle which only derbies seem to throw up these days.
Saturday’s result is difficult to predict with Charlton’s inconsistent form this season and Palace’s inability to hold onto leads.
But one thing surely guaranteed is goals, something Charlton fans will be glad to see for once in a south London derby this season as the Addicks have embarrassingly failed to score in both derbies against Millwall and Palace this season.
I hope they do score this weekend and take part in what should be a great derby, but just Palace score more and play a bigger part.
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