The large Irish contingent at Crystal Palace have all been confirmed as fit and ready for action in the Third Round F.A Cup-tie at Pride Park against Nigel Clough’s Derby. Latest Palace loan signing is Sunderland’s Cork-born Under 21 captain, John Egan who joins Sean Scannell, Owen Garvan and Club captain Paddy McCarthy in the Eagles line up. Perhaps surprisingly, since Egan’s loan is only of a month’s duration, the loan does allow him to play (if selected) in the Cup tie at Derby, as well as in Palace’s Carling Cup semi-final two leg tie against Cardiff City.
Cork-born Egan, is son of former Kerry GAA great and six times All-Ireland winner, John Egan. The Sneem native also won five All Star awards and was a member of the Garda Siochana in Cork, when young John was born. A Republic of Ireland Under 19 cap, Egan is captain of Sunderland’s U21 side and appeared on the bench for the Black cats first team against Manchester United before being loaned to Palace to gain additional experience.
The meeting between Derby County and Palace will mark the first time the two clubs have met in the FA Cup. County come into the game in excellent form having just become the only side in the country to have won all three games over the Christmas period.
Wins over Leeds, West Ham and Hull and the concession of just one goal have been achieved once the Rams’ injury woes abated somewhat.
Derby: Derby are hopeful that striker Nathan Tyson, whose Pride Park career has been blighted by injury, will be fit to play as Tamas Priskin has returned to Ipswich this week at the conclusion of his loan. Jeff Hendrick is on his way back from injury as is Stephen Davis but Clough is likely to keep a similar squad to the one that overcame Hull last time out.
Crystal Palace: Julian Speroni and Paddy McCarthy are recovering from illness and may well be rested and sit this one out, although Anthony Gardner is expected to be back in contention following his slight thigh-strain. New loan signings Egan and Mustapha Dumbuya have come straight into the squad, although Chris Martin is ineligible under the terms of his loan. Ex-Derby County star Dean Moxey remains out with a knee injury and the game may also come too soon for David Wright.Another former Derby player, Lewis Price will be in the Palace goal if indeed Speroni is rested or not fully recovered.
Thoughts from the respective Managers:
Derby Manager Nigel Clough: “Points aren’t up for grabs, but our preparation has remained exactly the same. I think it would be fair to say we’ve not done as well as we would have liked in both the Carling Cup and FA Cup during the last couple of seasons, so I think we’re due a run.
“Last season’s defeat at Crawley Town was a bitter blow at the time and it’s one of those results that still irks us all, even now. It was a night I think we would all like to forget, but it’s one of those that will always be at the back of all our minds to ensure we don’t reach a situation as disappointing as that again.
“Crystal Palace have proved with their Carling Cup exploits that they are a very good ‘Cup Team’ and we will need to perform at the very same level we have reached for large parts of this season if we are to get a result.”
Palace boss Dougie Freedman: “When you are in the business I am in and competitive the way I am, you want to win every game.
“I will be putting out a team I feel will beat Derby. Then we will move on to the next cup game and I will do the same for that.”
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Forecast: Two evenly matched sides – Derby in good run of form of late and Palace keen to progress in FA Cup too. A 1-1 draw is forecast here. One to watch out for? This is the type of game that Palace’s Glenn Murray often excels in and if selected could prove a handful for the Derby defence.
Palace have a Carling Cup semi-final next week against Cardiff and therefore some regulars are likely to be rested.