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FA Cup: Bolton Wanderers v Crystal Palace = Opposition Q&A with The Eagle's Beak

We spoke with our Palatial counterparts ahead of tomorrow's match

Crystal Palace v Swansea City - Premier League Photo by Kieran Galvin/NurPhoto via Getty Images

So tomorrow sees the return of Big Sam Allardyce and Lee Chung-Yong to the Reebok as Bolton Wanderers welcome Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace in the FA Cup.

We spoke to Sam of The Eagle's Beak, a Crystal Palace website which you can find and peruse by clicking here.

Let's great straight to it.

1) What sort of team do you think you'll put out?

One that is completely different to the team that lost embarrassingly against Swansea City on Tuesday night.

Sam Allardyce pledged that this game could be a one-off chance for some of the club’s fringe players to display their talents and possibly earn a place in the side for what is going to be a very difficult second half of the season.

However, at the same time, Allardyce will be desperate for his first win as Palace boss so it will be a competent team.

2) Were you happy to see Alan Pardew leave, and are you happy with Big Sam coming in?

It was definitely time for him to go. No other manager in the league would last that long having overseen such an awful run of form.

His ‘try to win but at the risk of defeat’ mentality was great at the start of his reign when confidence was high but it soon turned sour when confidence was lost after a couple of defeats around this time last year.

We then went 14 games without a win and his only saving grace was guiding us to the FA Cup final.

We expected a big improvement in the summer and while he enhanced the quality of the squad, it became difficult to defend the continued poor results. Most Palace fans were surprised he lasted as long as he did.

3) Do you have any memories of games against Bolton over the years?

We scraped a 1-0 win at Bolton in 2012 which was vital in creating momentum for what would end up being a surprise promotion-winning campaign.

Wilfried Zaha, who will miss this game as he’s going to the Africa Cup of Nations, won an admittedly soft penalty and Glenn Murray scored.

The return game later that season was Dougie Freedman’s first match back at Selhurst since leaving us soon after our victory at the Reebok (now Macron Stadium).

4) Are you aware of a footballer called Gary Madine?

I am indeed. In fact, I believe we were linked with a move for him in 2011 but instead he moved to Sheffield Wednesday from Carlisle United.

He seemed destined to maybe carve a career out as a top Championship striker or possibly even move up a tier into the top-flight.

Unfortunately, he’s had a few off-field problems which have halted his progress before he reached his peak but it’s good to see him finally getting his career back on track at a good level.

5) The 'Holmesdale Ultras' - tell me more about them

Where to start?

They’re certainly a divisive group but they do more good for the club than they do bad. They were formed in 2005 as the Holmesdale Fanatics with the aim of increasing the atmosphere at home and away games and they have certainly achieved that objective, making Selhurst renowned for its noise.

To their credit, with the help of crowdfunds they fund all displays that are seen in the Holmesdale Road end at Selhurst, unlike most Premier League grounds where banners and displays are all funded for by the clubs.

Of course, they get themselves in their fair bit of trouble but it’s generally a minority.

6) How has our old mate Chungy got on, and why do you think he wasn't a regular under Pardew?

He’s a tidy player. We signed him half way through his recovery from a broken leg so he didn’t feature until March that year (2015).

On his debut, he gifted the ball to a Hull City player who scored from the resulting counter-attack so he didn’t have the greatest of starts. However, he has since earned the approval of Palace fans despite not having the impact we all hoped he might have.

Lee struggled to get into the team throughout Pardew’s reign with Jason Puncheon, Yannick Bolasie and Zaha all preferred ahead of him by both the management and the fans.

He also slated Pardew while giving an interview to a Korean radio station which didn’t help his cause and it took him a while to earn a place in Pardew’s plans thereafter.

Lee’s legacy at Palace will always be a wonder goal he scored at Stoke City to win the game in added time. A corner was cleared straight into his path and he struck an unstoppable shot into the corner which sent the Palace end into raptures.

7) Score prediction?

My heart says we’ll win but my head thinks it could go to a replay.

Think it really depends on what team we put out but my gut instinct is a 1-1 draw. Palace fans will get on the players’ backs the longer it stays 0-0 which will play into your hands.


Many thanks Sam, though I won't be wishing you good luck tomorrow I am sure that the big man will have you out of trouble before too long.