Date: 24th April 2011 at 10:11am
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There might be a lot of talk about events at the Palace in London this week but the only ones that are concerning Leeds are the ones going on at Selhurst Park on Monday.

Vital Leeds caught up with Vital Crystal Palace editor Eddy Eagle ahead of the crucial clash for both sides.

Were you expecting to be in a relegation fight at the start of the season and where did you think Leeds would finish?
The was obviously some renewed optimism but yes I think most fans knew this season would be a struggle, but probably not the struggle it has been. Again our home form, especially this second half of the season, has been reasonably impressive but we just haven’t been able to capitalise away from home. It’s not often your home form could see you comfortably top 8 and your away form comfortably bottom 3 but that’s the battle we’ve had for far too long. Every point gained at Selhurst has been effectively wasted next time we travel away.

So long story short, yes I’d say most certainly expected the struggle and expected us to finish bottom half come the end of the season, but more around 18th place as opposed to lower which is now likely.

Do you think Palace will stay up and do you think Leeds have what it takes to win promotion?
I do think we’ll stay up, although it will be by the skin of our teeth now. That little buffer between Scunthorpe and us would’ve been far nicer had we not lost the other day to them, but that 3-point gap I think is going to be crucial for us now, we’ve got to keep picking up the points only if it’s one.

As for Leeds, I do. You’ve been playing some good stuff all season from what I’ve seen, and whilst obviously automatic promotion is out of the question, you’ve got be in with a good shout of the play offs, and with the squad you have you’d have to be considered favourites with Cardiff for making the final.

Who has been your most consistent player this season and who has been a let down?
There’s a number who could be classed as consistent, Vaughan, Danns, Ambrose, Speroni – you know what you get with them and they rarely fail to deliver to your expectations. Most consistent normally implies Player of the Season, and I think I’d have to plump for Danns on that one.

Who has been a let down, over the course of the season I’d be hard pushed to pick one because most of our players have had there good and bad moments. Frustrations and feeling, let down by any player hinges on game specific moments that in many cases have been amply apologised for by performances in the following game.

If I have to be harsh, whilst not quite a let down I was hoping we’d see more from Zaha because of how I rate him, but in a difficult season it’s difficult for players to shine and live up to their potential, so again, even that isn’t a let down.

The true let down is our luck away home, which everybody shares equally in.

Is there any Leeds player you would like to see in your team and who do you see as the main danger in a Leeds shirt?
There is a couple of players I wouldn’t mind, Becchio just stands out for me most weeks on the highlights. He just knows where to be in the box to make it count and that’s the type of player we could do with and also somebody who clearly can cause us problems.

What are your strength`s and weaknesses in your team this season?
Our greatest strength has to be our determination, we keep going and we dig in both at home and away, but with more success in front of goal at home. Our main weakness is we are prone to lapses in defence and especially away from home we generally pay for that. We’re much stronger at home in that department but still capable of switching off at the wrong moment.

Dougie Freedman is a legend at Palace but would you like to see a new manager next season or are you happy with him?
I’m pretty happy with him to be honest. He’s young, talented and driven and I really hope he gets the chance to learn from his mistakes and help build the club over a number of seasons so we can see his vision for us play out. Time will obviously tell if he’s a good enough manager, but he certainly deserves the chance to find out in my opinion.

You have a very good home record and a poor away record, what do you see as the reason for this?
This late in the season now, given our away performances are still reasonably good I honestly think it’s a mental block, that will take a pre season to sort out. We’ve lost points away from home when the least we should’ve gained was a share of the spoils and at points it feels like the players double the effort to avoid another defeat but ‘must try harder’ gets in the way of planned tactics and the basics sometimes.

As said with the pressure on at the moment, whilst I’m hopeful we can get a bit of luck with away games, I think our away block will only be sorted out in pre season with some friendlies to boost confidence.

What do you think the score will be on Monday?
I would gladly take a tight 0-0, but as we need the points I’m going to keep faith and say 1-0 to us.

Thanks for your thoughts Eddy and good luck with the rest of the season after Monday.

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