(Sporting Alert) — The push for a place in next season’s EPL heats up on Friday when 4th place Watford take on 5th place Crystal Palace in the npower Championship at Vicarage Road Stadium.
Both teams are separated by just one point in the Championship table standings and will be looking for a victory to keep tabs on the current leaders.
Crystal Palace are confident of taking all three points Friday, but manager Ian Holloway says his men must go out and earn it.
“You’ve got to earn it,” Holloway said. “Some of the stats we’ve produced away have definitely merited better scores than we’ve got but we’ve just got to get on a winning run if we can.
He added: “We’ll be well prepared I know what they do and how they do it, having to try and stop that is another thing.
“I’m looking forward to the chance of going there and I can’t see anything else other than us going here and putting in a good performance.”
Crystal Palace will be without captain Mile Jedinak, who picked up a broken nose and cheekbone during last week’s game against Huddersfield, which forced him to sit out Saturday’s 2-1 win over Charlton.
However, midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi is back from international duty with South African at Africa Cup of Nations and could return to the starting line-up.
Meanwhile, the recent loan signing Kevin Phillips, a former EPL player and Stephen Dobbie are available for Crystal Palace.
“I think Stephen Dobbie and Kevin Phillips can. I have got an opportunity to take a match-winner who has not got a contract with anyone…will I do that? I’m not quite sure,” Holloway said.
In Watford team news, defender Nyron Nosworthy, who has been away on international duty with Jamaica in CONCACAF World Cup action against Mexico will get a late fitness test before the start of the game.
Watford will also check on Joel Ekstrand, who has a sore knee. But midfielder Ikechi Anya (hamstring) and defender Neuton (back) continue to be out.
Watford are 4th in the Championship with 52 points, while Crystal Palace are 5th with 51pts.
Besides Cardiff City, who are ten points clear of second place Leicester City, everything else is much closer in the race to the EPL.