Alan Pardew revealed that new signing Andros Townsend will make his first appearance in a Crystal Palace shirt against Philadelphia Union on Wednesday.
Speaking at a joint press conference at the Talen Energy Stadium alongside Union boss Jim Curtin, Pardew revealed that his first summer signing will play some part, as well as the rest of his first-team stars and some of those players who impressed elsewhere last term.
Palace have been in Philadelphia for two days now and the Eagles manager has been thrilled with the welcome he and his squad have received, and having coped with warm temperatures over the past 48 hours he is hoping for a good spectacle out on the field when the two sides clash.
“America is treating us very well,” he said. “We’ve come into Philli in hot conditions which is unusual for us and it’s a bit intense, but it’s good that we’ve been here for a couple of days because we had to get used to it. The welcome we’ve had and the facilities have been excellent.
“This is our first game of the season so we have to be very careful with some of our players. We’ll be changing a lot and we have to do that, particularly in the heat, but you’ll be looking at some of our talent that did really well last year that needs to now break through – I could pick out Sullay Kaikai who had a great season on loan and he is threatening the first-team.
“He will play tomorrow and Townsend will play his first game so that will be unique for Philli, so most of the big hitters will get a piece of the action tomorrow.
“There has been so much enthusiasm from the Union fans who came along to watch us on the training pitch and they’ve been wishing my team well, but wishing for us to lose which you would expect! I love that enthusiasm. Hopefully we can put a product out on the pitch that brings that out from the crowd.”
Curtin was also hopeful of a good game, and echoed Pardew’s sentiment that there will be some of his stars on show despite the fact that the Union face local rivals New York Red Bulls on Sunday, where a win could see them climb to the top of the Eastern Conference.
“We’ll treat it the right way and will play a tough group,” Curtin said. “We’ll be able to see where we stand up and we’ll be able to give some of our younger guys some much needed experience. They’ve worked really hard over the course of the season and that needs to be rewarded against a great opponent and to see where we measure up is good.
“With the Copa America here, the Euros on and to have Crystal Palace visit it’s a great opportunity to grow our game. We always have good crowds; Wednesday night is a little tricky with work but they’ll get the opportunity to see some world class players on the field from Crystal Palace and young players from both teams.
“We’re at different phases of our season but it’ll be a great game as it’s two teams that can attack really well so it’ll be an exciting match and we’re really looking forward to it.”