If Roy Hodgson’s side were to pick up their first away win of the season at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, it would not only see Palace go level on points with the 17th-placed home side but also positive signs of progression would continue to be seen.
Hodgson splits the fourteen games of the season into two groups and can reflect on a productive period in recent weeks.
“It's been a better spell for us of course. The 14 games we have had divide quite clearly into two periods of seven. The first seven were disastrous for us in terms of results; we had no wins, no goals and we let in 17, so it doesn't really get a lot worse than that.
“The last seven have been much more productive and more like I would have expected a Palace team to achieve, we've played seven, we’ve got nine points, scored eight and let in eight, which is a little bit more like a team that is able to survive in the Premier League, but the only problem is one way or the other we have to make up for that disastrous first seven games where, not only were there no points, there was a goal difference of -17 which could also be an extra point against you in the final analysis,” said Hodgson at his pre-match press conference ahead of this weekend and on the back of a point at Brighton in midweek.
That point was not only the first on the road this term but also a first clean sheet of the campaign, more encouragement for the boss as he is set to make a return to his former club where he managed for 54 games.
“It’s encouraging because if you're letting goals in it's always harder because you know how hard goals are to come by in this league and the moment you go a goal or two down you know it's going to be hard work to get back to any sort of parity, let alone to win the game. But if you can keep clean sheets you could even have that bit of fortune that sneaks you a 1-0 win. It is important but we work as hard as we think we can and the players work as hard as I think they can in order to improve our team play, improve our defensive organisation to make ourselves harder to beat but we are still pretty much in the early stages of that. There's a lot more work to be done and all of us here at the training ground are aware of that."