Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson hopes the sight of Brighton running out onto the pitch on Monday night might inspire his men.
The former England boss will take his beleaguered troops to the Amex Stadium at the start of next week. They are looking to bounce back from back-to-back Premier League losses.
A 2-0 defeat to Leeds United at Elland Road was followed by a disappointing 3-0 home loss to Burnley. That followed on from a couple of encouraging victories but they have lost four times since the turn of the year.
The south Londoners were woeful when losing to the Clarets last time out. The absence of Wilfried Zaha seems to sap confidence from the rest of the players.
Hodgson has had to deal with a lengthy injury list but they are 10 points clear of the relegation zone. A couple more wins might be all it takes to secure another season in the top flight.
The veteran coach is now hoping for a response in the so-called M23 derby. And he wants his men to react to the situation and make sure the supporters have bragging rights.
“I think whatever team we were playing after the last two results where we’ve been below par, we’d have been anxious to show that we’re better than that and that we have more in our locker to show than in the last two games,” he said.
“So the fact that it’s Brighton adds the extra spice because it’s a game which is very important to our fans and everyone at the club is very much aware of that.
“It’s a good opportunity to get out there and show that the last couple of performances are not what our fans can expect from us.”
Zaha loss tough to deal with
Palace have lost 18 of their previous 20 games without the winger in the starting line-up. He will be absent on the south coast and Hodgson does not know when his talisman will be back.
“He is still suffering from the injury, there’s no question of that and the doctors in particular and the physios are very anxious not to put dates on people so they would be very angry with me if I was to suggest dates for when he might return,” he added.
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