Despite bringing them to the club midway through the January transfer window, both Jarek Jach and Erdal Rakip are yet to play a single minute in a Palace shirt but Roy Hodgson has now confirmed that the pair will take part in Monday afternoon’s U23 game against Charlton, giving our coaching staff a chance to assess how far away they are from any first-team involvement.
As supporters, it’s only natural for us to want to see how a new signing looks in a competitive environment but I will happily admit to trusting Roy’s judgement on matters of player development, particularly when they’re as young as Rakip and Jach.
You will always get punters questioning why any new signings have been made in the January window if they’re not ready to take part in the first-team straight away but in both of these specific cases, there is a definite adjustment period that must be negotiated before committing to using them in a first-team setting.
It may sound a tad cautious but when you consider the change in country, language and training environment that they’ve been forced to contend with, both lads will have had plenty on their plate over the last week or so, making today’s clash with the Addicks’ under-23 side the perfect fixture to ease them in slowly to what the English game will demand of them both physically and mentally.
Of course, with Rakip’s deal being a loan rather than a permanent arrangement, there is a greater sense of urgency attached to getting him up to speed but even so, we must accept that Roy and his fellow coaches won’t rush the lad into battling the great and good of the Premier League without first making sure that he can handle what is likely to be thrown at him over the course of 90 minutes.
I expect there will be thousands of interested spectators keeping a close eye on how both new-boys get on this afternoon, with Palace’s official Twitter page likely to keep us abreast of all the major incidents that take place.
Ideally, both Rakip and Jach will show themselves to be ahead of schedule, giving Roy a bit more depth from which to select his next match-day squad for the trip to Everton but for now, I’m keen not to place too much expectation on either player’s shoulders.