Rochdale’s late heroics at home to Tottenham Hotspur yesterday afternoon have prompted a change in fixture scheduling which has seen Palace’s home game against Spurs move from Monday 26th February to Sunday 25th at 12:00pm.
With the North London outfit still competing in the Champions League and now facing up to the prospect of a replay with the League One side, the FA have been left with no option but to push our scheduled meeting back more than 24 hours.
Given the fact that Roy Hodgson’s boys won’t have played for more than two weeks once the game rolls around it won’t have too great an impact on us fitness-wise but given the lengthy injury list we’re currently being forced to contend with, it stands to reason that an extra day would have been welcomed.
Prior to yesterday’s FA Cup drama, there had been some hope amongst the Palace faithful of Harry Kane missing our game through injury but after seeing him come off the bench to expertly dispatch a late penalty, it’s fair to assume that he’ll be fit and raring to go by the time Sunday lunchtime rolls around.
In recent weeks, Pochettino’s men have really begun to step it up a level, securing wins over Manchester United and Arsenal and recovering from a two-goal deficit out in Turin, to gain a massive 2-2 draw with Juventus in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 clash. Of course, their draw with Rochdale doesn’t quite rank as highly in the list of achievements but even so, Roy Hodgson and his players are in for one hell of a test this weekend.
Currently behind fourth-placed Chelsea by a single point with goal difference on +28 and opposed to +26, Spurs are beginning to smell blood. In recent years, pundits have questioned the team’s stamina in the final stretch of the season but this time, it looks as though Pochettino may have his players primed and ready to go full-throttle for the run-in.
Taking that into account, any positive result Hodgson and Palace can muster next Sunday would be seen as a minor miracle by supporters given the continued absence of Wilfried Zaha. Can we provide a defensive rearguard strong enough to stop Kane and co. whilst unlocking their defence without our talisman? If anyone can find a way, it’s Roy.