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Owls win gives Palace genuine hope going into Charlton derby
11:48am Wednesday 12th September 2012 in Sport
EAGLES columnist SAM ROSS can’t wait for Friday’s trip to The Valley where Crystal Palace will be looking for their first league success in 16 years.
I DOUBT there were any Palace fans sharing Charlton’s delight at celebrating their promotion from League One last season while the Eagles slipped down the Championship table.
But the thought of playing them this season would certainly have raised a smile, despite the jubilant scenes at the Valley.
As soon as they were promoted I received texts saying how they were going to smash us this season, and with the Eagles’ dreadful start to this campaign that only intensified and had me fearing the worst.
But the superb 2-1 win against Sheffield Wednesday, who were unbeaten in 19 league games under Dave Jones, bought renewed optimism for Palace fans and had me thinking, maybe, just maybe, we could sneak a result on Friday.
Charlton are undoubtedly the favourites going into the game.
The last time Palace came away from the Valley with a win in the league was their 2-1 victory in the 1996 play-off semi-final thanks to goals from Kenny Brown and Carl Veart.
Addicks fans are still revelling at supposedly relegating us from the Premier League in 2005, while I still concede it was the combination of Kieran Richardson scoring for West Brom and Mikele Leigertwood’s needless foul that cost us our top flight status.
This aside, one of the many appetising things about this fixture is the timing.
When the fixtures were released it was not only good to get an opportunity to play Charlton early on but, being early in September, there is not much riding on the game in terms of points.
It is a great opportunity for a classic London derby where both teams can have a right good go at each other.
Perhaps the worrying thing in this sense is Charlton probably have more ‘derby players’ who are relishing the game compared to Palace.
Former Charlton defender Paddy McCarthy, who we have already missed this season, is one player who would have certainly been up for the game.
Elsewhere, Julian Speroni is probably keen to get one over the Addicks following relegation seven years ago, while homegrown youngsters Wilfried Zaha and Jonny Williams should know what it’s all about.
When the two sides last met in 2008/09 season, both home teams came out on top in 1-0 victories.
Palace then had a host of their starting XI like Speroni, McCarthy, Shaun Derry, Clint Hill, Ben Watson and Victor Moses who knew how much London derbies meant.
This season is all about the derbies for me and the disappointment in our 17th placed finish was combined with West Ham’s promotion and QPR just securing top flight survival.
Take aside all the bravado nonsense and the derbies are something special, which Friday night will prove in an end-to-end fiery affair on the pitch, while off it an incredible atmosphere will be created.
Another teasing aspect of this fixture is the managerial battle between legendary club men Chris Powell and Dougie Freedman.
It has all the ingredients to be a cracker, so roll on Friday and don’t disappoint.
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