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Mackems success and deadline deals a big boost for Palace's survival chances
12:34pm Wednesday 4th September 2013 in Sport
CRYSTAL Palace columnist WILL TAYLOR is feeling a bit more confident about his club’s survival prospects after Saturday’s win over Sunderland and a busy transfer deadline day in SE25.
THERE was an overwhelming sense of pride when Stuart O’Keefe planted his luscious left-foot strike beyond the despairing reach of Keiren Westwood.
Finally, at the third time of asking, our promising performance would be rewarded with the three points it richly deserved.
On the opening day we were defensively resolute but impotent up front, while at Stoke we fell foul to the perfect example of a ‘game of two halves’.
But against Sunderland, Ian Holloway stitched together two wonderfully effective 45-minute spells, installing the passion, commitment and tenacity many thought would come from Paolo Di Canio and company.
As bizarre as it sounds, last Saturday’s match was a must-win game, although it was a far cry from the relegation six-pointer fabricated by some media outlets.
With an international break and a daunting trip to Manchester United on the horizon, defeat would have certainly zapped all the confidence from a team already dwelling at the foot of the table.
The victory was also essential in making the club a substantially more attractive destination for potential new arrivals.
If Sunderland had run riot at Selhurst, how many players would have answered the club’s distress call?
That solitary W now etched onto our record gave Holloway a tangible carrot to dangle on a string, something to seduce even the most reluctant of parties.
For the first time in living memory, we were about to enjoy a deadline day brimming with titillation rather than trepidation.
Then in amongst a whirlwind of rumours, rushed medicals and a permanently aroused Jim White, it was all over.
My initial reaction to the players Steve Parish was able to sign, seal and deliver is one of pleasant optimism.
Adrian Mariappa looks like a suitable solution to our defensive woes, arriving with glowing reports from Royals fans and the recent experience of a relegation dogfight, albeit an unsuccessful one.
Paul Lambert decided to cash in on unpolished diamond Barry Bannan, a technically-gifted midfielder who may once again thrive on Holloway’s pearls of wisdom having enjoyed a successful loan spell at Blackpool three years ago.
Former Forest man Adlene Guedioura is decent all-round midfielder, although he will have to work on his tactical discipline, which has already become an integral part of our Premier League style of play.
And while Cameron Jerome may attract the same initial derisory reaction as fellow striker Marouane Chamakh, look beyond the laughs and you will find a talented target man, a man who has simply wilted during his sabbatical on the substitutes’ bench.
If nothing else, his presence will give Holloway one less reason to play Aaron Wilbraham.
In the out tray, many fans were sad to see cult-hero Peter ‘Rambo’ Ramage depart on loan to Barnsley, although better he leaves now before his reputation is tarnished by every quick-witted striker in the league.
But life as Palace supporter would not be complete with some degree of disappointment.
A fairytale return for Andy Johnson was scuppered by Arry’s decision to nudge the transfer fee sky high at the last minute, while the purchase of Liam Bridcutt would have delivered yet another enjoyable blow to our south coast rivals.
Perhaps the most pleasing aspect about the new arrivals is they provide strength and depth without the perception that they will walk straight into the starting line-up.
To disrupt the current balance would be suicidal, especially as the likes of Dwight Gayle are finally beginning to nurture a newfound belief.
Holloway now has the luxury of a fortnight to fine tune his tactical playbook and work out how and when to implement his new players.
It is essential he continues to cure players of their attacking insecurities will ensuring the new recruits thrive and contribute to the squad’s remarkable team spirit.
There is just one cloud of doubt that lingers in my mind.
If Mile Jedinak picks up an injury on international duty this week, it could be a case of same old story for poor old Palace.
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