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Ward Optimistic Ahead Of Hammers Encounter

21 August 2014


Joel Ward doesn't believe the distraction of not having a permanent manager in place will affect the Eagles squad on Saturday as they aim to make a winning start to the Selhurst season against West Ham United.

A turbulent week on and off the pitch for the club could alter any player's confidence going into a second London derby in a week, but the defender believes that having Keith Millen at the helm in a caretaker role should reduce that effect.

Last season the Palace assistant guided his side to four crucial points during his four game temporary stint in the dugout, and Ward believes that after a fine performance against Arsenal more can be collected under his guidance this time round.

He said “Obviously not having a manager is unsettling at times but I think the majority of players have been in this situation at a certain point in their careers before so you've just got to get on with it and do our jobs because all we can affect is what happens on the pitch.

“As professional footballers that is all we want to do, whoever the new manager may be we'll just do our best. In the meantime Keith has taken over so hopefully we can still put up some results.

“Last year when he took over we had a good run of games and there's no reason why that can't continue this time. He's got the experience of working with the lads so it wouldn't be beyond the question.”

Millen will manage the side helped by first-team coaches Ben Garner and Gerry Francis for the visit of the Hammers on the weekend, and he is a popular character amongst the players as Ward reveals.

“He's been great, he's always been heavily involved in training since he came in under Ian Holloway becasue he brings his own things to the table and its enjoyable. Training is fun but we're always concentrating and building for the games and we do that in a professional manner.

“You can see his passion which is good and the fans are keen for that, but whoever comes in has got a unique bunch of guys here so it's probably a dream for someone to come in and work with us because of our attitudes, the way we work and our work ethic.”

The two encounters with Sam Allardyce's men last season saw Palace scoop the maximum six points from the Eastenders and ensured good memories for the Selhurst faithful, and it is exactly the same with the players who are aiming for a repeat performance this time round.

“The game at their place last season guaranteed our safety so that was a great day,” Ward added. “I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off our shoulders which was a great feeling and hopefully we can have that again on the opening home game of the season.

“It speaks volumes for the type of guys we've got here that we were unlucky to come away from Arsenal with at least a point. The manner in we conceded the goals was disappointing but that's football and we've got to dust ourselves off and go again.”

A limited number of tickets for the game against West Ham United are still available - click here to buy yours now!

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