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Palace Players Thrilled By Cincinnati Welcome

15 July 2016

Damien Delaney, Jason Puncheon and Joel Ward heaped praise on the people of Cincinnati after they turned out in their numbers to cheer the Eagles on at an open training session this afternoon ahead of Palace's game with FC Cincinnati.

The squad were put through their paces in front of hundreds of fans inside Nippert Stadium - which will be packed to its 35,000 capacity for Saturday's game - and following that session a number of the Palace players, Alan Pardew and the management attended a function hosted by Cincinnati.

Speaking at that event alongside the home side's Omar Cummings, Paul Nicholson and Austin Berry, the three Eagles admitted they had been blown away by the warm welcome they had received since arriving in Ohio, with Delaney saying: "We're happy to be here and we're delighted that you guys are hosting us. 

"Everyone we've met so far in the city have been really amazing and we've been blown away by the support and the enthusiasm this city city seems to have for football. 

"This is our pre-season tour so we're trying to get fit for our season so we're looking for match fitness tomorrow. Hopefully it'll be an experience for Cincinnati to play against us - don't go too hard on us though as we've been training pretty hard the last few weeks!"

Before the evening's open training session, the Eagles trained at the Cincinnati Bengals' NFL complex in the morning, and Puncheon was taken aback by the size and quality of the  facilities which were kindly lent to Pardew and his players.

"You can see the size and the stature of it all and the attention to detail is greater than back home," he said. "People have been coming down to the training sessions to meet and greet us which we're not used to as we only do that from time to time but it was nice to embrace that today - we had to be careful not to make any mistakes in training! 

"Since we've been here everything has been good and we really appreciate it."

Ward also hopes to see some of culture of the area in the next few days before Palace fly out to Vancouver on Sunday for the third and final leg of their tour, stating: "We came in on Sunday so we haven't had that much chance to see the city so far as we've been on double sessions.

"There has been a lot of recovery and rest before training, but we may get a little bit of time to see the sights - hopefully tomorrow."

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