Premier League previews - Crystal Palace
Manager: Tony Pulis
Last season: 11th
Major signings: Fraizer Campbell (Cardiff City)
Players out: Neil Alexander (released, Heart of Midlothian), Jose Campana (Undisclosed, Sampdoria), Kagisho Dikgacoi (free, Cardiff City), Danny Gabbidon (released), Dean Moxey (released, Bolton), Jonathan Parr (released, Ipswich Town), Aaron Wilbraham (released, Bristol City), Alex Wynter (loan, Portsmouth).
Easily one of the leading contenders for manager of the year last season, Tony Pulis completely transformed Palace from a side that looked destined for the drop under Ian Holloway to a hard-working and difficult to beat outfit who comfortably finished in mid-table despite a disastrous start.
In some ways, Palace’s excellent end to the season was redemption on a personal level for Pulis, whose good work at Stoke was nearly always overshadowed by the not always attractive style of football his side played. Look at it another way and you'll find that almost immediately after the Potters arrived in the Premier League they became a mid-table side and that is what Eagles fans will expect once again this season.
Given the resources at their disposal it will be asking a lot of Palace to finish in the top eight, but Fraizer Campbell is a very decent addition to the attacking options at their disposal and with Pulis in charge from the start this time, having had the chance to work with his players in pre-season, we think they might just about sneak into the top half.
Irish angle... Damien Delaney was one of Palace’s most reliable performers under Pulis last season and although he’s just turned 33, he’s done enough to suggest that he has another decent campaign or two in his legs. Paddy McCarthy is still at the club but barely got a look in last season and while Owen Garvan is still under contract at Selhurst Park, the fact that he’s currently training with Ipswich Town suggest his days at the club are numbered.
If they were a fictional character… they’d be MacGyver. Their methods aren't always what you'd call conventional, but thanks to one man with a dodgy hairstyle (in Tony Pulis' case, barely any at all), they get the job done.
Where will they end up? The teams that finished around them in the table last season have been busy strengthening so far this summer, but optimistic Palace fans will be aiming for an ever-so-slight improvement and a place in the top half come the end of next season.