Former Crystal Palace striker Mark Bright says the Eagles have “nothing to be frightened of” following the release of the 2014/15 Barclays Premier League fixtures.
Palace have been handed a tough trip to Arsenal on the opening day of the campaign and also face a tricky run-in, but Selhurst Park hero Bright is in bullish mood when it comes to the Eagles’ hopes for next term.
“It’s a real glamour tie at Arsenal for us to open with,” he told cpfc.co.uk.
“We started against Spurs at home last year and we’ve got Arsenal this time, so it’s another game that the players will be looking forward to at the start of the year.
“There are two ways of looking at playing a team like Arsenal first up. Usually teams take a little bit of time to hit some rhythm and get going, but Arsenal are a little bit different because of their style of play. They’ve been playing the same way for a long time.
“But it’s one of those that everyone will want to be fully fit for and be raring to play a part in.”
Palace’s first three home games see us entertain West Ham United, ahead of the visits of newly-promoted Burnley and Leicester City, giving Tony Pulis’ men a decent chance to get points on the board early.
Bright believes that the Eagles’ home form will again prove pivotal in the club’s quest to stay in the Premier League again.
“Having a London derby first up at home again is good,” he said. “It’s a good solid fixture for us and one that we know we can win if we play well. There will be no fear going into that game.
“To be honest I don’t think we should fear anyone at home now after what happened last year, with the results against the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool.
“People won’t want to come to Palace and that’s exactly how we want it.”
Bright though was disappointed that the Eagles only have one match at home during a busy festive period – when Southampton come to SE25 on Boxing Day – with trips to Manchester City, Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa rounding off the Christmas and New Year calendar.
“Only having the one game at home is a bit of a downer, I think,” Bright admitted. “Those are the best-supported fixtures in the calendar and I’m sure Tony won’t be too pleased with the travelling involved in that short space of time.”
But Bright was in confident mood when it comes to Palace’s run-in, despite a tough looking May that sees the Eagles pit their wits against Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Swansea City.
He said: “There’s nothing to be frightened of there. We’ve proved we can get results against the big teams and there’s not the gap there that we thought there was.
“I don’t care about the run-in because, with Tony in charge, by the time those last few games come around, hopefully we’ll be safe.
“The target for every team in the Premier League, the big boys aside, is to get to 40 points as quickly as you can and then crack on from there.
“Norwich’s run-in killed them last season – that was toughest run I’ve ever seen. But if you need to win those last few games to stay up it just means you haven’t been very consistent throughout the season.
“By the time we come to those last few fixtures, I think we’ll be in a strong position, as we were last season, and there will be no pressure surrounding those games.”