Since arriving at Selhurst Park in 2012, Ward has established himself as one of the most consistent performers in the Palace squad that sealed promotion to the Premier League and maintained their top-flight status ever since.
After being snapped up by the Eagles for a cut-price £400,000 from cash-stricken Portsmouth in 2012, the right-back played 30 times for Palace during a successful debut season, and missed only four games the following campaign as he showed his versatility by playing at left-back and central midfield when requested.
His form in a variety of positions saw him scoop the club's Young Player of the Year award for 2014, and he went on to play all but one league game in 2014/15, scoring his first goal for the club in the 3-1 win against Queens Park Rangers in March 2015 which he followed up with three more strikes in 2015/16.
At the start of the 2008/09 season, an 18-year-old Ward joined fellow south-coast side Bournemouth from Pompey on a season-long loan deal but they were relegated at the end of the season. He suffered the same fate at Portsmouth the following season as they dropped out of the Premier League, but he did play three times in the competition.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the club, Ward stayed on for the 2010/11 season and quickly became the first choice right-back, making 46 appearances as the club finished 16th in the Championship.
His good form continued the following year and he scored against arch-rivals Southampton in a 1-1 draw at Fratton Park but with Pompey desperate for funds to stay afloat, Ward was sold to Palace for £400,000, having made 96 appearances for his hometown club.
He has since surpassed that total in SE25, and finished the 2016/17 season as the club's record Premier League appearance holder in history, with 141 to his name.