Palace travel to St. Mary’s on Wednesday night to face a Southampton side in turmoil.
The sale of the south-coast side’s prime assets has continued during the transfer window, with keeper Antti Niemi and teen starlet Theo Walcott both moving on to Premiership clubs.
The home supporters seem to have had enough, with major protests against club chairman Rupert Lowe planned – all of which should guarantee a fiery atmosphere for the fixture.
Hopefully, this is a much better time for Palace to play Southampton than on the fixture’s original date. When Palace travelled to St Mary’s on November 3 for a game that was ultimately rained off, the Saints had won their previous two league games and lost only one of the last seven.
By contrast, George Burley’s side have now won only once in their last seven league matches, having lost the other six.
Of course, Palace always seem to come unstuck when faced with apparently favourable conditions such as these, but at least Iain Dowie has the luxury of players returning from injury ahead of the clash.
Tony Popovic and Mikele Leigertwood have shaken off minor knocks, while Aki Riihilahti is back to full fitness.
Marco Reich is back in training, although he will not return to the side until this weekend’s F.A. Cup match at Preston at the earliest.
Southampton are missing Djamel Belmadi and Martin Cranie, though Nathan Dyer should return.
Probable Palace XI:
Hall Ward Hudson Boyce
McAnuff Hughes Watson Soares