Palace defender Martin Kelly is hoping that an extra week on the training pitch will help the Eagles end their three-game league losing run at the expense of his former club Huddersfield Town.
Kelly’s team went into the international break having not claimed a Premier League win since the opening day of the season, and while he admits he and the majority of players don’t enjoy waiting a fortnight to put that right, he is hoping a well-drilled gameplan will hand Roy Hodgson the perfect one-year anniversary present.
“If you ask all the players we don’t like having breaks in the Premier League,” Kelly said. “We like having a routine and playing every week is good for us, but it does give us the chance to work on the opponent for a little bit longer and we’ve done that in the past week or so.
“We set up in a similar way to play most games, so it wasn’t a case of trying to change something because that’s how we got beat. We were missing a couple of key players and the results haven’t gone our way, but we have to do better, and we’ll go into the Huddersfield game fighting for our manager and fans.
“If you ask all of the players in the squad, Roy has benefitted all of us. We want structure to our play, and that’s what we’ve got with him. He’s a world-class manager and we’re privileged to have someone of his stature working with us, and he’s a great person to have at a club who wants to be a staple in the Premier League and progress.”
Palace have never tasted defeat in an away game against Huddersfield in the clubs’ three previous top-flight meetings, and take on a Terriers side who haven’t won any of their last nine competitive games. Despite those good omens, the one-time capped England man is expecting a difficult afternoon against a team eyeing their first win of the campaign.
Evaluating the contest, he said: “I think it’ll be a difficult game; they’ve not had the best of starts and are worse off than us, but it’ll be tough as they’re at home and their fans will be right at it, as will our fans as our travelling support is really good.
“There’s no game that you can guarantee a win in this league, especially at a club like ours, but we know we have to do to win and that’s how we’ll set up, and the rest is up to us.”
Kelly spent a couple of months on loan at Huddersfield at the start of his career, playing seven times and scoring once during the 2008/09 season, and he admits he will be forever grateful for their help during the fledgeling years of his career.
“It’s always memorable going back to Anfield but I spent a couple of months there and couldn’t thank them enough for giving me the opportunity to play at such a young age,” he said. “It was a great experience which I needed at that time, and it only benefitted me going back to Liverpool.”