Palace v Sunderland ? Team news preview

Last updated : 13 May 2004 By Nik Taylor

Palace go into the first leg of our play-off semi-final with no worries over suspensions and an injury-free squad.

Even physio-couch-hogging Darren Powell is fit enough to be pushing for a place on the bench – though defence will not be the focus for the Eagles.

Away goals don’t count double in the play-offs, so it’s a case of ‘attack, attack, attack’ in this home leg, with the red and blue army hoping the boys can build up a healthy lead to take to Wearside on Monday.

And with the squad trouble-free, manager Iain Dowie is set to pick the same team that lost at Highfield Road last week.

Sunderland, on the other hand, have several injury problems and a few players just making their way back into the team. Mick McCarthy believes all of Jason McAteer, George McCartney and Darren Williams will be fit enough to play. However, the Black Cats will definitely be without the services of Julio Arca, Steven Wright and Paul Thirlwell for both matches.

Palace have won seven of their last nine home matches and drawn the other two. Of course, one of those victories was a resounding 3-0 thumping of Sunderland just last month. Here’s hoping for a repeat performance on Friday!

Probable Palace XI:

Vaesen
Butterfield Leigertwood Popovic Granville
Routledge Riihilahti Hughes Gray
Johnson Shipperley