We bring you the latest views of Steve Parish from his 'Steve Says' column in today's match programme for the game against Chelsea.
Today sees us host the Premier League champions, and I would like to welcome the directors, players, staff and supporters of Chelsea Football Club.
This is almost certainly the toughest period I’ve encountered in my time at Palace and today’s opponents present us with another huge challenge to get off the mark in the league. We’ve been unlucky losing Wilfried Zaha to injury on the first day of the season, and now with Christian Benteke out for a prolonged period, we do find ourselves up against it.
A little bit of luck wouldn’t go amiss. Anyone who has seen us play would think that we’ve not always had the rub of the green, but more than ever before we need your support. Everyone here genuinely has a part to play in our fightback – I’ve said it before in the programme, the noise and atmosphere you create here at Selhurst Park can provide the spark that we desperately need.
I urge you to get behind Roy and the team today. This international break has given him the chance to work with the players not involved in representing their countries, and I can assure you they are all up for the task ahead.
I would like to send my congratulations to Gareth Southgate’s England on qualifying for the 2018 World Cup; what a competition that promises to be. Well done also to Luka Milivojevic who was instrumental in sending Serbia to the tournament by scoring his first goal against Austria, and to Chung-yong Lee and Christian for their nations reaching the finals.
I’d like to take this opportunity to again congratulate Pape Souare and the club’s medical team on his return to first-team action last month against Huddersfield Town. Pape is an inspirational man - that crash honestly could have ended his career. For him to come into training every day for more than a year, spending hours upon hours in the gym - often on his own - to finally wear the red and blue shirt again is a truly wonderful story, and testament to the strength and courage of the man.
Away from first-team matters, last Saturday the Palace for Life Foundation held their Marathon March; a 26.2 mile walk from Selhurst Park all the way to Trafalgar Square. I was delighted to join the last five miles of it which was knackering enough!
The Foundation really is a force for good – the fact that more than 100 people gave uptheir Saturday to walk all that way and raise more than £50,000 to help improve the lives and opportunities for young south Londoners just shows what’s great about our fans, and our club.
Copies can be bought from the sellers around the ground, or if you can't make it to Selhurst Park today then find out how you can still get your copy from the comfort of your own home.