Crystal Palace’s recent run of fine form under Sam Allardyce has been built on solid performances from a whole host of players rather than just one or two stars. The man who perhaps best fits the bill as an unsung hero of late is defender, Martin Kelly.
Having been signed by Tony Pulis on the final day of his tenure in SE25, Martin didn’t exactly get off to a roaring start in red and blue. Whilst he was always looked upon as a relatively dependable type, the likes of Neil Warnock and Alan Pardew never really managed to unlock his full potential during their time at the club, often using him as nothing more than a last resort when other first-team players were unavailable.
Admittedly, Kelly’s chance in the starting XI under Allardyce came as a consequence of injuries to both Scott Dann and James Tomkins but the tactical questions asked of him by the former England boss have been far removed from anything he’s previously experienced at Selhurst Park, as the piece at the top of the page explains.
Still only 26, there is every chance that Kelly’s game will continue to come on in leaps and bounds under Allardyce’s watch, aided by the security of a new deal, which the ex-Liverpool man penned shortly before Alan Pardew left the club at the turn of the year. It may not have been an obvious match made in heaven but Big Sam seems to be getting more out of Kelly than many fans ever thought possible and for that, both he and the player himself deserve immense credit.
This weekend, Kelly and his Eagles teammates travel to Anfield to take on Jurgen Klopp’s Champions League chasing Liverpool side, knowing full well that another clean sheet will go a great deal of the way towards securing a record fifth consecutive season in England’s top flight. If the defender’s performances in recent weeks are anything to go by, you wouldn’t put it past him to play a blinder.