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Crystal Palace V Sunderland at Selhurst Park : Match Preview
Crystal Palace V Sunderland - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Holloway full of optimism
Manager Ian Holloway maintains there are plenty of reasons to believe Crystal Palace can have a successful season as they look to record a first win against Sunderland at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
The Eagles slumped to a third straight defeat this term when a much-changed side crashed out of the Capital One Cup at Bristol City in midweek.
However, Holloway believes with plenty of hard work and the injection of some new faces ahead of the transfer window - with talks over a deal for Reading forward Jimmy Kebe at an advanced stage - then the south-east London club can fight their way to an extended stay in the Barclays Premier League.
"We might be behind a few (in terms of bringing players in), but so far we have (only) lost 1-0 (at home to Tottenham) and 2-1 (at Stoke)," Holloway said.
"We played better in those games than we did in the cup tie, so I am full of optimism and hope.
"I just need some players across the line before Monday, then galvanise them into a group, which is not easy, but we will do all we can to make our fans proud.
"We just have to stick together and work hard."
Palace have held talks with veteran defender William Gallas, but a deal looks unlikely, while free agent Carlton Cole is another target following his release by West Ham over the summer.
Huddersfield right-back Jack Hunt is also said to be on Holloway's extended wishlist.
Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has not been slow in strengthening his squad to avoid another relegation dogfight.
Like Holloway, Italian coach Di Canio is certainly a colourful character.
The Eagles boss - who has been charged by the Football Association for his post-match blast to the officials after the defeat to Spurs - is looking forward to going head to head on the touchline.
"Good luck to him. It is a great chance for him," the Palace boss said.
"His energy is quite intense and he certainly has his own style."
Palace again look set to be without winger Jerome Thomas because of an ankle problem.
Midfielder Yannick Bolasie (hamstring) is also sidelined, while captain Paddy McCarthy (groin) continues his rehabilitation, along with forward Glenn Murray (knee).
Sunderland midfielder Stephane Sessegnon will not make the trip after being arrested and charged with drink driving.
But striker Steven Fletcher will hope for a first appearance for the club in more than five months in the Barclays Premier League clash.
Evergreen Palace striker Kevin Phillips, who scored 30 goals in his first Premier League season at the Stadium of Light, is now 40 years old, but still making an impact, if now in shorter bursts.
At his venerable age, Phillips, who converted the play-off final penalty which sent Palace back into the top flight, is more often than not cast in the role of impact substitute.
Di Canio has made a point of studying his club's history since his arrival as manager, and he is well aware both of the affection in which he and former strike-partner Niall Quinn are still held in the city, and his enduring quality.
He said: "Of course, especially when he used to play next to the big fella. They were a very good couple.
"It was a typical mixture, one tall who keeps the ball and the man who plays around the big giant.
"He's a fantastic finisher, sharp, quick. He can take on his opponent, so he is a skilful player also.
"When you have got quality, you have got quality, even when you are 45, so we have to be careful if he plays because he can cause problems, especially on the edge of our box or inside the box."
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