Julian Speroni is relishing the prospect of coming up against a side he feels is one of the best on the continent when Arsenal travel to Selhurst Park tomorrow.
The Eagles keeper is anticipating a tough afternoon against Arsene Wenger's star-studded side, but feels that if Alan Pardew's men stick to what they've been working on in training this week then they could provide a shock result in SE25.
With the hosts scrapping for points to draw themselves away from the drop zone and their visitors aiming to cement a 17th consecutive season in the Champions League, the 35-year-old knows that whilst the result tomorrow could be crucial in the final shake-up, there is still plenty of time for both clubs to achieve their aims this season.
He said: “We have a gameplan and we need to focus on that but we have to be realistic, we're playing against one of the top teams in Europe so it's going to be a tough game. But that's why we want to play in this league and be Premier League footballers, and we want to play teams like this week in, week out. We just have to go out there and enjoy the challenge.
“We are in a good position at the moment but it's very tight down the bottom but we haven't done anything yet, we need to carry on and get the points on the board and see what happens at the end of the season. It's going to be very tight and nothing will be decided in the next three or four games.
“The main target is to stay in the Premier League, and if we manage to do that for a second season then we can start thinking of ourselves as an established club in this league, and begin to look long-term.
“The core of the team is the one that got promoted from the Championship and I've seen how we've evolved as a team until now, the change from three years ago to now is fantastic.”
Having been between the sticks for over 10 years in south London, Speroni knows just what an impact the Eagles fans could have on the outcome of the result tomorrow, and hopes they will be celebrating come the final whistle tomorrow.
“The fans played a very important part last season and they're continuing to do so again this season,” he added. “The noise they generate is incredible and as players you can feel that. It's not a nice place to come for other teams but we love it and we enjoy playing in that atmosphere at Selhurst. It has become a tough place to come and get results and we have to make sure that continues.”
Speroni is on course to break John Jackson's club record of most league appearances by a goalkeeper should he start against Arsenal, having made 346 so far. Despite the accolades, he is just focussing on the here and now rather than looking too long-term.
He added: “I take one year at a time, I've been blessed fitness-wise and I'm now seeing the rewards of all my hard work when I was younger. I like to compete with the younger goalkeepers here so I feel like I could play forever but you have to be realistic.
“I'm 35 now and you never know what's around the corner, you could pick up an injury and struggle to come back so I want to enjoy every minute, try and have my best ever game tomorrow and carry on. I don't know how long it's going to be but I want to enjoy it.”