Palace boss Burley out to do double over Norwich City
Crystal Palace boss George Burley insists it is “no surprise” to see Norwich City challenging at the top end of the Championship but is determined to burst the bubble of optimism at the club on Boxing Day.
The Canaries travel to Selhurst Park on Sunday (1pm) looking for their sixth away win of the season but Burley is looking to home comforts as he hopes to arrest his side’s slide into the relegation zone.
Burley has been impressed by the way City boss Paul Lambert has built a side that shows no fear on the road and whatever happens at the weekend he believes Norwich will be in the promotion shake-up.
“Paul Lambert has done a great job – they have showed great consistency and it’s no surprise to me at all to see them right up there at the top end of the table,” said Burley, who knows what a promotion-winning side looks like having taken fierce rivals Ipswich Town to the Premier League in 2000.
“They haven’t been beaten twice in a row during his time with the club which is a phenomenal statistic.
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“But we will be looking to take advantage of the fact that we are at home. We’ve been good (at Selhurst Park) recently and it looks set up for a very good game.”
After being soundly beaten 3-0 at Nottingham Forest last time out, Burley is looking for a response but knows his Eagles side will be up against an in-form City.
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Their surprise win at Carrow Road in October will only serve as inspiration to the Londoners however.
“Forest have got an excellent home record and we move on from it,” added Burley, whose squad have been unable to train properly due to the snow and lack of indoor facilities at the club. “We made some mistakes at the back and got punished for it.
“But the beauty of it is that we’ve got the chance to right a few wrongs on Boxing Day against Norwich. The win at their place will give the boys a lot of belief and that was probably one of our best performances of the season so far.
“All of our players put in a great shift and we need that level of performance again to get anything out of the game.”
Burley has certainly tapped into his Ipswich connections during his time in south London, his current squad includes no fewer than four former Town players.
But the Palace supremo insists, while it gives the visiting Norwich fans something to focus on, it will make no difference on the field of play.
“I’ve been up against Norwich on numerous occasions but I don’t think the Ipswich connection will make any difference,” added Burley, who could include former Tractor Boys David Wright, Darren Ambrose, Owen Garvan and Pablo Counago in his side.
“It’s going to be a really tough test for us as Norwich have been very good on the road so far but we’re always confident on our own patch.”
After parting company with Scotland following the failed 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign, Burley did not choose an easy path back into management at Palace with the club only just surviving relegation last season, having had 10 points deducted for falling into administration.
But having been taken over by a consortium in the summer, Burley is hopeful the board will be able to provide some funds to build a squad capable of surviving in the Championship.
“I will be looking to strengthen the squad in January. When I came to the club we only had 10 players on the books so it’s a gradual process for us.
“The only player I have bought is Owen Garvan so we will be looking to bring in a few others to complement what we’ve got here.”