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West Brom v Crystal Palace: Upbeat Palace ready for Pulis reunion

Crystal Palace assistant manager Keith Millen says FA Cup progression has lifted the mood at Selhurst Park ahead of their reunion with former boss Tony Pulis and West Brom.

Alan Pardew’s Palace are winless in the league since December 19, seeing dreams of European qualification falter as they have slipped to 13th – level on points with Saturday’s hosts.

However, Yannick Bolasie’s return from a calf problem helped Palace get past Tottenham in the FA Cup fifth round last weekend while Pulis’ men were dumped out by Championship side Reading.

Pulis staved off relegation in his brief spell at Selhurst Park during the 2013-14 season before leaving due to a disagreement with the club’s owners.

And Millen says knowledge of Pulis’ tactical approach, as well as an upbeat mood in the camp, has the visitors confident.

“It’s amazing what a win can do around the place,” he told the Croydon Advertiser. “Everyone has been lifted and the atmosphere has been good.”

“We have looked at our win against West Brom in October this week and we know how Tony Pulis is going to set up.

“He’s very good at that, but on the day in October we got a good goal through Yannick Bolasie and then the penalty, so I can imagine it being a tight game.

“Tony will be looking for a reaction from his players after a poor performance and defeat at Reading. But our victory against Tottenham has brought the confidence back with the lads this week.”

Palace have Pape Souare suspended while Pulis will likely be without Jonny Evans (hamstring) as West Brom seek to put a difficult few days behind them.

Their FA Cup exit was made worse when a spectator threw a coin at Chris Brunt – causing a cut beneath the eye of the Northern Irishman who branded the incident “disgusting”.

An arrest has since been made and West Brom fans are set to hold a charity collection to raise funds for a charity of his choosing at The Hawthorns on Saturday.

But Brunt remains focused on on-field matters, telling reporters this week: “I will work towards Crystal Palace and try to make amends for a disappointing performance.

“If selected I will do my best to the best of my ability. I am a professional and trying to do my job to the best of my ability.

“If some people don’t think that is good that is their opinion. But the manager and coaches pick the team and if I am there I will do the job to the best of my ability.”

Key Opta Stats:
– Palace have won none of their last nine Premier League matches, scoring just four goals in that run.
– Only Alan Pardew (43 per cent) has a better Premier League win percentage as Palace manager than Tony Pulis managed as boss of the Eagles (42 per cent).
– West Brom and Palace have both scored a joint-high eight goals from corners in the Premier League this season, along with Manchester City.
– There have been four penalties in the last four meetings between West Brom and Crystal Palace.

Thu 25 Feb, 2016
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