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View From The Town End - Crystal Palace

Once again it's the time where we invite fans of our opponents to share their thoughts ahead of the game and this week Stephen Bridle from The Five Year Plan Fanzine has been kind enough to share his thoughts ahead of Saturday's game at Selhurst Park.

How have you rated your start to the season?

I think most Palace fans are more than pleasantly surprised so far. Sitting in fourth going into this game is a far cry from the woes of last season. We've had a good cup run that has seen us into the quarter finals now after beating Southampton 2-0 in the week. All in all we couldn't have asked for a better start. It's been terrific, and we have Palace legend Dougie Freedman to thank for it.

What do you make of the Championship as a whole?

It has to be the most exciting league in the country, doesn't it? You never know how it's going to play out and that's a testament to just how competitive it can be. We're a prime example of that down at Palace. Who would've guessed we'd be where we are so far?

A lot of it is down to our excellent academy and for clubs like Palace, and many others, it was a shame to see the recent EPPP proposal being accepted by the Football League. The prospect of losing some of our best youngsters for next to nothing is a huge blow to us and I think it'll be detrimental to the league as a whole.

There's a planned boycott of the first five minutes of the game to show that we're not happy about this. It's being carried out by fans across the 72 Football League clubs on the same day and of course Reading fans will be welcome to join in.

Palace were expected to be struggling at the bottom of the table but have made an impressive start to the campaign. What's been the main reason for your early success?

It's the attitude Freedman has instilled in the players. We've got there on merit thanks to teamwork. Last season we had a leaky defence and hardly looked like scoring. He's really turned all of that around and we're playing with a confidence at the back which allows us to go forward and talent up front to bag the goals. He's got the lads playing for each other. He's also a seemingly very humble man who's not letting the early success go to his, or his players', heads. That'll be a key factor in sustaining this new found form.

What's your best memory of playing Reading?

Recently it has to be our 4-2 win at your place in the 09/10 season. Academy graduate Victor Moses really stole the show that day bagging a brace of excellent goals. It was an exciting match with goals coming at both ends. Unfortunately we had to sell Victor to Wigan as the club declined into administration - but the door will always be open for him at Selhurst. What makes the match memorable for me was Moses clinching a late goal to secure the victory when you were looking to get back in it at 3-2.

And the worst?

The worst has to be the off-the-pitch happenings of last season. It resulted in a Crystal Palace fan being set upon by a Police dog whilst being held down at Reading station. His life-long ban has been overturned, and the Football Supporters' Federation are perhaps looking to take the case further, so we can't talk much more about that now.

Who are you worried about from the Reading side?

Jobi McAnuff is my main worry. He was with Palace for a while and ex-players always seem to score against us. Besides that he's a decent player who can score and create goals. He'll always be remembered by us for scoring a late winner in a 3-2 victory over arch rivals Brighton. I'm sure he'll get a decent reception for it.

Who should Reading fans look out for?

Wilfried Zaha. He's been embarrassing defenders all over the pitch this season and he's been a real joy to watch for Eagles fans. You can't miss him, he'll be the one running rings around your full-backs!

While he's taking centre stage this season we're by no means a one man show. We've accumulated goals from ten different players this season and there are quite a few players you'll need to watch out for.

Right-back Nathaniel Clyne (another academy graduate) has only just come back from an injury in pre-season, but in the few matches he's already played he's again looking like something else. He was superb against Southampton midweek and after winning last seasons Player of the Year award the 20-year-old is going from strength to strength.

Any tips for travelling Royals?

Expect a lot of 'banter' from the Palace fans, though it'll be mostly light-hearted. There are plenty of pubs in the area but the pub closest to the ground, the Clifton Arms, is home fans only - so don't take it personally if you get turned away. You quite often find a mixture of home and away fans in the 'Cherries' next to Norwood Junction station after the game and we had quite a good time exchanging chants with the Middlesbrough fans after they'd visited us in the league.

Prediction?

I saw your game against Southampton and I have to say that your performance was one of a team you'd expect to see higher up the table. It was a good result against a Southampton side that's so far been in good form. Saying that it just feels like anything is possible here at the moment and our form (5 wins and a draw in six games) isn't to be scoffed at. I'm sure it'll be a good game, but I think Palace will take all of the points this time.

Palace 1-0 Reading

Thanks again to Stephen and you can follow the FYP  on twitter via @fypfanzine