Championship Preview: Inconsistent Crystal Palace host high-flying Hull City

The Tigers got back to winning ways by crushing Birmingham on Saturday, but face a tough test at Selhurst Park, where the Eagles have lost just one game all season
A mouthwatering clash at the top of the Championship headlines Tuesday night's full programme of fixtures, as second-placed Hull City travel to south London to face Crystal Palace.

The Tigers smashed five goals past Birmingham City to move back into second place in the table at the weekend, although the Eagles have not lost a game at Selhurst Park since opening the season with a 3-2 home reverse against Watford.

Yannick Bolasie netted the only goal of the game as Palace beat Derby on Friday night, but the France-born 23-year-old is desperate not to let complacency creep in.


Bristol City
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Appearing on Sky Sports' show 'Soccer AM', the winger said: "I worry about my performance levels. So long as I perform at a high level then points should come really.

"That's what the team do as well - that's what the manager says, so we try to avoid looking at the table but it's normal for a human to look at the table and see where we are.

"He brings a lot of enthusiasm to the changing room. He does stuff that gets everyone happy.

"When you see he's happy, I think everyone else is because of what he's been through in his life."

George Boyd hailed a "perfect" home debut for Hull at the weekend, as he hit a double in a win over Birmingham which put them back in command for an automatic promotion spot, and just five points behind leaders Cardiff.

"It was a perfect debut really and I couldn’t have asked for a better start," Boyd beamed to the club's official website.

"It was a fantastic result and after last week [4-1 defeat at Bolton] it was important to start well.

"It was great that the early goals went for us this time and I thought we controlled the game for large periods. We played some nice stuff.

"The manager said we needed a reaction and we gave that. It would have been nice to have kept a clean sheet as well, but we would have taken 5-2 beforehand."

A clash between sides of notably differing fortunes sees rock-bottom Bristol City play host to Brighton, who have re-entered the top six with a fine recent run of form.

The Robins dropped to the bottom of the table following Saturday's 0-0 draw at Blackpool, but boss Sean O'Driscoll was happy with a good showing from his side and has called on them to put a run of form together to climb the table.

"It's about performances," he told BBC Radio Bristol.

The Championship's top-scorer has hit almost half of Crystal Palace's goals this season and his link-up play with Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha will be crucial in the Eagles' push for three points against a Hull City side full of confidence after their big weekend win.
After missing more than four months of the season through injury, the 38-time Spain international has hit form in recent weeks with two goals in his last three games. Brighton have propelled themselves back into the top six in recent weeks, with the ex-Valencia man at the heart of their revival.
The highly-rated 18-year-old has thrived on loan from Chelsea this term and has nailed down a spot in the Hornets' midfield of late. Capable of providing a destructive force in front of the defence, as well as springing forward and creating, Chalobah will be key in the Hornets' promotion hunt.
"It's not about points. We could have got results in every game we've played but we've not been consistent from the first whistle to the last.

"But it's a step forward because [recently] we've been consistent, that's the key to it all. We've got to try and do the same things and have everybody switch on to what we need to do and commit to it.

"We've been consistent in our performances, but not consistent enough."

The Seagulls have won four of their last five games and full-back Inigo Calderon, just one of six Spanish-speaking players in Gus Poyet's squad, has hailed his side's focus on their own affairs for the up-turn in form.

Calderon told The Argus: "We have spent too many weeks looking at the table after games and watching results from other teams.

"Now we don't care. It's just about us.

"We have three games away but I think we are doing all right now so we have to keep the momentum."

Another top-versus-bottom clash can be found at Vicarage Road, where free-scoring Watford host Sheffield Wednesday.

Fulham left-back Matthew Briggs could make his Hornets debut after signing a loan deal until the end of the season, and the 21-year-old spoke glowingly about the club in an interview with their official website.

He said: "It’s a great club, Watford, with a good manager and the team is playing well, so I’m happy to be involved, and get some games under my belt. I want to play at the highest level I can, and progress.

"I used to watch the manager [Gianfranco Zola] when he was at Chelsea, and he was a great player.

"I like that he’s trying to bring his style of play to Watford, and play good football. It’ll be good to work with someone who has so much experience.

"I spoke to Alex [Kackiniklic, who played for the Hornets last season], and he told me to take the chance to come here, he told me what a great place it is to play.

"Hopefully I can do well. It’s a completely new experience for me; I don’t know anybody here, so I’m looking to settle quickly."

The Owls climbed out of the drop zone with a run of seven games undefeated, but were brought down to earth with a bump at the weekend, going down 1-0 to Nottingham Forest.

Wednesday boss Dave Jones was quick to praise his players' recent run, but bemoaned what he believed was a lost chance for his side to give themselves a huge chance of securing survival.

"That’s two defeats in 13. If you’d have said that beforehand we’d have taken it," he told reporters.

"But we’re just disappointed because if we’d have won we could have moved up four or five places. We felt it was a missed opportunity."

The weekend in headlines
  • Blackburn Rovers completed the double loan signing of David Jones from Wigan and Cameron Stewart from Hull City on Friday. Both made their debut against Peterborough on Saturday, with the Latics man netting a late consolation in a 3-2 loss.
  • Ipswich striker Paul Taylor has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm for his involvement in a pub brawl in October last year and will appear in court later this month.
  • Leicester City's owners have purchased the club's King Power Stadium in an estimated £17 million deal. The ground had been owned by American pension fund company Teachers Insurance since the club came out of receivership soon after the ground opened in 2002.
  • Alex Kacanilic has joined Burnley on loan until the end of the season from Fulham. The Sweden international scored three goals in 19 games for the Cottagers this term and made his Clarets bow against Charlton at the weekend.

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