Palace must look for experience
It has been an incredible few months for newly-promoted Crystal Palace. With promotion to the Premier League confirmed after their win against Watford at Wembley in the Play Off Final, the club must now assess their needs for the coming season.
July 2nd, 2013
Having begun last season with several new players under the guidance of Dougie Freedman, things had begun slowly. Expectations from the supporters had dwindled as a result and there was a feeling that the club did not possess enough quality to challenge for promotion. However, following a good run in late 2012 expectation began to rise but the untimely departure of Freedman, who left forBolton, threatened to derail the entire season.
The club moved quickly and appointed Ian Holloway as their new manager in November. Having enjoyed recent success in the Premier League and in the Championship, he was seen as someone to take the club on. The team’s remarkable undefeated run stretched on and promotion begun to look like a tangible possibility. With Glenn Murray supplying the goals, Wilfried Zaha creating chances and Mile Jedinak marshalling the defence, the club really took shape under Holloway’s guidance.
Despite some slightly indifferent form towards the end of the season the club secured their playoff place in early May. With Murray injured and sidelined for several months, the goal-scoring responsibility fell to Kevin Phillips – who scored the all-important winner in the final. After eight long years the club had finally rejoined the Premier League and the hard work had only just begun.
With his Premier League experience Holloway is in a prime place this summer to recruit the players he feels he will need for the coming season. Only a handful of the current squad have played in England’s elite league and experience at this level will be pivotal to their progress. Ideally with some of the money they have received from Zaha’s deal to Manchester United, they need to pick up half a dozen players who have played at this level.
Recent seasons have shown us that newly-promoted sides can cope in the Premier League but those who invest seem to be more successful and that is no coincidence. There will be a huge injection of cash into the club following their promotion and a sizeable proportion of that will need to be made available to the manager. There is probably the need for at least one new defender, midfielder and striker and someone who will create chances is vitally important.
The next six weeks will be pivotal in Palace’s future but they seem to have the correct people in the right places. With a little more quality and experience the club should be able to start the league season in a strong position. It is going to be an extremely tough season ahead and the planning is well under way.