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Wickham - Hopefully This is the Start of the Road Ahead

26 December 2018

Connor Wickham played just his second Premier League game of the campaign in Crystal Palace's 0-0 draw with Cardiff City as he continues his recovery from a two-year spell of injury.

The forward showcased a strong performance and created countless chances to unnerve and occupy the visiting Bluebirds defence.

Looking back, he couldn't believe that his side hadn't broken the deadlock but found positives to take from a relentless attacking display.

Speaking after the final whistle, he said, "We had 31 shots, which is pretty incredible considering we didn't score. But the positives are that we're getting the chances and getting into the right positions. We'll become more clinical hopefully and then we'll start climbing up the table and getting away from where we shouldn't be anyway."

With the frontline valiantly trying but not succeeding to open the day's scoring, it fell on Palace's back four to ensure that at least a point was retained, and the defence did well to keep yet another clean sheet in the Premier League.

Wickham, who naturally inhabits a different part of the pitch, still managed to find praise for his defensive teammates and reflected on a season so far of strength and resilience.

"We've got a very good understanding," he explained. "We've got a very good back four who can play with the ball and, when needed to, fight. But all over the pitch we've got good defensive players and good attacking players. We can be a threat when we want to be, we just have to start killing games off by being ruthless in front of goal."

Aside from a last-minute appearance under the lights of Goodison Park in October, the 25-year-old has only played first-team league football this season in this Boxing Day draw. Looking back on a strong half-hour to mark his return, Wickham said, "I had an inkling that I was going to get a run-out today so I was ready. Every time I go out on the pitch I want to do my best and stamp my authority when I can. I should have got one today, possibly two, maybe three if I'm that harsh on myself. But I can work on my sharpness in training and try to replicate it on the pitch.

"This [playing for the first-team] is a completely different level to Under-23s, so my match sharpness has to be twice what it is for those games. But it will come. I've been out for the best part of two years and hopefully this is the start of the road ahead."

Reflecting on his first chance to run onto the turf of Selhurst Park for far too long, Wickham finished his post-match interview by saying, "It was a nice moment, the reception from the fans was nice too."

For the rest of the post-match reaction, from both Wickham's teammate Andros Townsend and manager Roy Hodgson, head over to Palace TV now. There will also be full match highlights for free later tonight. If you're reading in the app, just click 'Palace TV'.

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