Crystal Palace CheerleadersJames Daly from Crystal Palace fanzine Five Year Plan is our guest this week, here to discuss all things Leeds United and Crystal Palace ahead of tomorrow’s Championship clash. A reciprocal interview with myself answering the question is available here.

You seemed to go on a bit of a slump after we beat you last time round, have you recovered now, and do you expect to finish in the automatic promotion places? 

You’re right we struggled after losing at Elland Road, in fact before last week’s win at Derby we hadn’t won on the road since November at Peterborough!

We had a rough time in January but we seem to have come through it and have had an excellent February, combining with some shrewd loan signings from Holloway.

I don’t like saying the ‘P’ word but looking at the table we have to believe it’s a possibility. If it was any other team than Palace I’d be confident of them going up.

Neil Warnock provides an obvious connection between Leeds and Palace, what are your thoughts on him? Did he spend half of his life wallowing in self-pity and blaming everyone but himself for poor results when he was at Palace too?

Yes! Yes he did! At the time I didn’t mind but looking back it was a bit of a flawed concept. Although he had good reason at times (see Freddie Sears’ disallowed goal at Ashton Gate).

I liked Warnock. He took us to the play-offs and had Ben Watson scored that penalty (again at Ashton Gate) I think we’d have gone up.

He’s the sort of manager you hate when he’s in the opposition dugout, but his bullish attitude warms to you when he’s on your side.

He always speaks well of Palace since leaving which I like.

Sticking with managers, I’ve always liked Ian Holloway, mostly because his interviews are usually quite comical. How do you rate him as a manager?

Love him. He’s got our flair players buzzing and we are a joy to watch. Compare that to the dire football we had to endure under Freedman for most of last season.

Olly’s enthusiasm rubs off on everyone, I’ve been in press conferences with him and he’s great to interview.

He doesn’t seem to care for defending but that’s fine as long as we keep scoring. I love his passion, it’s great to see after the dour Scot.

On paper, Palace look to be a bit of a one-man team riding high on the back of Glen Murray’s goalscoring exploits. How do you explain his incredible up-turn in form this season?

We sort of are a one-man team but it isn’t Murray, it’s Mile Jedinak. The big Aussie midfielder ties everything together and when he plays well, we win.

Our struggle came when he was injured for a few weeks after breaking his eye socket at Huddersfield thanks to Alan Lee’s elbow (ouch).

Jedinak allows the likes of Williams and Zaha to get forward and impress. I love Murray but take Jedinak out and you lose much more.

Any other players we should be keeping a close eye on?

The aforementioned Jonny Williams. He’s brilliant. Potentially better than Zaha I think. He’s impossible to tackle.

Shame he’s Welsh.

What would you say is Palace’s biggest weakness?

Defending crosses. We just can’t seem to deal with it. The last three goals we’ve conceded have all come from crosses.

If we cut out the winger from getting the ball over we’re ok, but once it comes into the box we’re a mess.

Thoughts on Leeds United?

I’ll admit I used to hate Leeds when I was younger, but what I saw as nastiness I’ve realised was just passion the older I’ve got. Plus, I’ve never had anything but friendliness from United fans when up at Elland Road.

Not a fan of Ken Bates though, he reminds me too much of Simon Jordan (shudder).

Finally, what’s your prediction for the game?

If we start like we did against Hull but manage to score early we’ll win, but I’m always wary of Leeds and I think you’ll be tough to break down.

I’m going for (well hoping for) a close 2-1 Palace win.

Thanks to James for taking the time to answer our questions, and our thanks as ever to Kick-Off for providing us with the following statistical preview ahead of tomorrow’s match. 

Leeds United v Crystal Palace