It’s been just a touch under three months since Crystal Palace FC last appeared at Selhurst Park, but ahead of this Saturday’s friendly against Valencia, the playing surface looks to be in superb condition.
Despite a busy pre-season campaign to date, Palace fans haven’t had the opportunity to take in a game at home, having watched on as Alan Pardew and his players embarked on a North American tour, followed by a string of friendlies across London in the days and weeks that have followed.
After going unbeaten throughout the initial stages of our pre-season schedule, the players finally succumbed to their first defeat of the summer when being roundly outplayed and outworked by a well!disciplined Fulham side last Saturday, but having been bolstered by the return to training of five international stars in the last few days, we can look forward to a decent contest against our Spanish counterparts over the weekend.
Indeed, the return of Wayne Hennessey, Joe Ledley, Jonathan Williams and Yohan Cabaye has also seen the arrival of Steve Mandanda, who, after signing from Marseille at the start of July, is now getting to grips with life in South London both personally and professionally.
It’s fair to assume that all five of the aforementioned players will be given a relatively major role in this weekend’s clash as Pardew and his coaching staff decide whether or not they have the match fitness required to be pencilled in for a starting role at home to West Brom a mere seven days later, after been granted an extended leave of absence following their respective countries’ prolonged presence at Euro 2016.
Regardless of the squad chosen to take on Gary Neville’s former employers this weekend, it’s fair to say that both teams will be afforded the opportunity to play on a pristine playing surface. There really is nothing like the sight of a perfectly manicured football pitch in the height of summer.