Hopkin Looking To Curl One…

A regular blog dedicated to Crystal Palace Football Club through the eyes of a fanatical supporter, contemplating everything from results to the colour of Stuart O'Keefe's boot laces…

PICTURE: Balotelli Misses Out On Palace Trip, Goes To The Boxing Instead

Liverpool’s Mario Balotelli will play no part in today’s game at Selhurst Park, having failed a fitness test on a groin strain yesterday afternoon.

The Italian striker will give way to one of Rickie Lambert or Fabio Borini this afternoon, with the Reds also missing Daniel Sturridge who suffered a setback in his rehabilitation from injury earlier this week.

Both Borini and Lambert have made just one Premier League start each this season, with neither having scored a goal in the current campaign, leaving Liverpool worried that they won’t have the firepower to overcome a plucky Palace side in front of the Sky cameras.

With the scars of last season’s 3-3 draw still raw for many associated with Liverpool, there is a level of genuine trepidation for their supporters, regardless of Palace’s own poor form of late.

Balotelli took full advantage of his absence from the Liverpool squad, sitting ringside at Tony Bellew v Nathan Cleverley last night instead.

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Palace Will Aim To Complete Their Business Early In The January Window

Neil Warnock has admitted that the club will look to make signings early in the transfer window, given the fact that a number of first team players will be leaving the squad in January for the African and Asian Cup respectively.

Thanks to his first two international goals last week, Yannick Bolasie’s DR Congo have managed to qualify for the African Cup of Nations, whilst club and Australian International captain Mile Jedinak will be jetting off for the Asian Cup during the same month.

Mindful of the loss of key squad members for a prolonged spell, Warnock and the board seemingly already have plans in place.

We have been looking for months really. We are going to try to improve the squad early. I don’t want to leave it until the last minute of the deadline. We’d like to get someone in the first week of January if possible.”

“These competitions are quite ridiculously planned. Jedinak goes all over the globe as captain of Australia. He’s the shining light there.

“I don’t want to lose players like him and it’s not an easy time to get good players in, but we just have to get on with it.

“The top clubs (like Liverpool) have 25 internationals, basically, so it’s easier for them to fill the gaps.

“But for us between now and January, eight games, is probably going to be our most difficult period because we can’t bring anybody in. So all we can do is the best we can.”

With a potential takeover still being discussed, we may find ourselves in a situation which allows a far greater transfer budget than we were first anticipating, but as of yet, it’s probably wise not to hold your breath on that front.

Ideally, the club’s scouts have already agreed our key transfer targets with the management staff, allowing us to move quickly once the transfer window opens, making for the most minimal form of disruption possible for the squad, in what is shaping up to be an incredibly month at the start of 2015.

Of course, these things seldom go to plan, but for now, we can all at least hope that we manage to sign one or two of our main priority players before the final week of the window begins, at which point, all hell usually begins to break loose.

For rolling news and comment on everything happening at Crystal Palace FC, follow Hopkin Looking To Curl One… on twitter by clicking here.

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