West Brom v Crystal Palace: Irvine wants to maintain intensity

23 October 2014 17:57

​Alan Irvine has challenged West Brom to maintain the intensity from Monday’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United versus Crystal Palace.

Goals from Stephane Sessegnon and Saido Berahino appeared to have secured all three points for West Brom only for a late equaliser from Daley Blind to make sure the spoils from an enthralling game at The Hawthorns were shared.

It was an impressive performance from Albion, who consistently caused their visitors problems, and Irvine has urged side not to let their level slip on Saturday as they target three points from the visit of a Palace team deemed likely to be fighting with West Brom to avoid the drop come the end of the season.

Irvine told West Brom’s official website: “We need to [have the same intensity]. This is a big test as well. It’s a different test but it’s a big test.

“Crystal Palace are extremely well organised. They have a very good shape about them when they don’t have possession of the ball. They make it hard for you, they set traps for you and they counter-attack very, very quickly.

“If we don’t use the ball well, if we don’t give them problems and ask them the kind of questions that Manchester United asked us, then we’ll find this a very tough afternoon.

“It’s important that we all try and generate that same atmosphere, that same intensity, the same tempo. If we do that we’ve got a chance of getting a better result.”

For Palace the focus heading into the game has predominantly been on manager Neil Warnock, who has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association for comments made about referee Craig Pawson following last Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to league leaders Chelsea.

Warnock claimed that Pawson wanted to “even up” the teams by dismissing Palace midfielder Damien Delaney just three minutes after showing a red card to Chelsea left-back Cesar Azpilicueta.

Palace will now look to move on from that episode and boost a tally of just eight points from as many games at a ground where they have not won in the English top flight since 1973, although the London club did claim a 2-0 victory in the FA Cup back in January.

The visitors’ cause is not helped by the continued absence of defender Scott Dann (knee) and midfielder James McArthur (hip) both of whom remain on the sidelines along with Stuart O’Keefe (ankle) and the suspended Delaney.

News on the injury front is better for West Brom, whose goalkeeper Ben Foster has returned to training after missing the draw with United with a calf issue.

However, winger Silvestre Varela is not yet fit to return from a groin strain, defender Jonas Olsson is still unavailable with an Achilles complaint, and midfielder Claudio Yacob is out due to personal reasons.