Speed demons share Blues confidence

The speedsters are coming to Portman Road.

While much has been written about Paul Jewell’s experienced Dad’s Army, Crystal Palace’s young guns are finally coming of age.

The two contrasting styles of teams who both occupy play-off positions should make for an exciting spectacle in front of Portman Road’s largest crowd of the season – with a discount ticket promotion adding to the Blues’ renaissance.

Jewell yesterday paid a warm tribute to tomorrow’s opponents, and their young manager Dougie Freedman, who have confounded all expectations following a few years struggling to stay in the second tier of English football.

“Crystal Palace struggled last year but now they’re doing well,” reflected Jewell. “They seem to have blended youth, exuberance and pace with a little bit of experience.

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“They’ve got good players – Wilfried Zaha and Sean Scannell have caused most teams problems – and they have got a good goalkeeper (Julian Speroni) too.

“They’ve had some good results and I think it comes down to having the confidence going into games. They’ll come here full of confidence, we’re still full of confidence, so it should be a good game.”

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With just goal difference separating Palace in fifth and Town in sixth, a tough encounter is predicted with David Wright, Darren Ambrose and Lewis Price returning to their old stomping ground, but Owen Garvan likely to miss the match with a knee injury.

But Blues left-back Aaron Cresswell is unconcerned by the opposition, admitting: “I don’t know much about Palace but I think if we get at them and pass like we can pass, there is no reason why we can’t get the three points.”

A win tomorrow could push Town into the top two but one sticking point remains the goals against column after heavy early-season defeats by Southampton and Peterborough.

And Jewell said: “I think we’re the only team in the top six across Europe right now with a minus goal difference – it’s crazy.”

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