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Hodgson labels Palace's Brighton rivalry as 'one of the highlights'

15 December 2019

On Thursday, Roy Hodgson commented on the significance of tonight's game, which sees Crystal Palace take on long-term rivals Brighton & Hove Albion in the season's first installment of the so-called M23 Derby.

Hodgson drew upon his longstanding relationship with Palace, who he supported while growing up in Croydon and represented at Development level. The manager also explained that, by becoming a part of Crystal Palace, players understand the significance of Brighton matches and what it means to the two clubs' fans.

He said: "We work for the club and I think whenever you work for a club you very quickly immerse yourself in the culture of that club. For me in particular, going back a long way with the club, of course I have no difficulty understanding it.

"But even the foreign players that come in, it doesn’t take them very long when they’re a Crystal Palace player to understand that the Brighton game is one of the highlights of the season and one of the most important games of the season for everybody at the club, not least of all the fans. There will be no concern for me in that regard, that the players will know what they’re up against, know how important that occasion is and know how important it is that they really pull out all the stops."

Hodgson then turned his attention to the supporters in SE25, who he has found plenty of praise for throughout two years in the dugout.

"The home fans are always important here," he said. "I think that’s well documented. When you’re a beneficiary of their support you can’t say often enough how grateful you are for how well they get behind the team.

"I thought the last game we played at home against Bournemouth was a classic example of a crowd getting behind its team to really help that team, if you like, compensate for the fact that they were playing with 10 men for the best part of the game. They [the fans] will be aware, too, of the importance of this game - I’m expecting them to be as vociferous and as supportive as ever but I’m expecting them of course to behave correctly as they always do."

You can grab one of the few remaining tickets for Palace v Brighton for tonight by clicking here now.

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