Despite Palace still siting at the foot of the Premier League table, winger Andros Townsend is absolutely buzzing with confidence thanks in large part to the influence of manager Roy Hodgson.
Having gone in at the interval of Saturday’s game against West Ham down 0-2, many expected the team to fold like a pack of cards during the second half but after hearing from the gaffer, Palace’s players peppered Joe Hart’s goal and got their reward when Wilfried Zaha drew the team’s level with what was practically the last kick of the game.
Whilst the overall picture still looks rather bleak for the Eagles (four points from safety after 10 Premier League fixtures) the general trend in recent weeks has been an undeniably positive one, leaving Townsend feeling incredibly confident about our chances of surviving in the top flight for another year.
It’s easy for English football fans to dismiss Hodgson as yesterday’s man after the bitter nature in which his stint with England ended but in Palace’s last three games he’s seen the team deservedly beat defending champions Chelsea, lose out on a hard-fought point with a late goal away at Newcastle and play more than well enough to feel hard done by at not coming away with a victory at home to West Ham. Were we to have started this season in similar form, Palace fans would be eyeing up the top half of the table rather than casting wishful glances towards 17th place.
Having worked with Hodgson when playing for his country, Townsend is as well placed as anybody to speak about our chances of staying up and I’ve seldom seen him speak with such enthusiasm about the potential within the side. It’s a cliché but late goals such as the one Zaha bagged on Saturday can have a tremendous impact on the momentum a team feels moving forward and in the short-term at least, it’ll help us head into this weekend’s trip to face Tottenham with a spring in our step.
Clawing your way up from the bottom of the table is never a quick process but all of the signs point towards Hodgson and his coaching staff making a tangible difference to the general mood surrounding the club.
The spirit is definitely still alive and kicking in SE25, just ask Andros…