Palace fears grow as players go unpaid

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The Independent Football

Like Portsmouth earlier this week, Crystal Palace have again failed to pay their players wages on time. In Palace's case, this is the second successive month, raising fears the Championship club is in danger of being forced into administration. As of last month, "cash flow" is said to be the problem, and the wages are expected to be paid next week.

Palace are already under a transfer embargo and have not paid a fee for 16 months. They admit they are unlikely to be able to resist offers in this month's transfer window for their talented young players, notably Victor Moses who, fortuitously, is unlikely to play at Sheffield Wednesday today due to injury, thus ensuring he will not be Cup-tied.

Neil Warnock, the Palace manager, will speak to the squad before today's match. Warnock said chairman Simon Jordan had told him it was a "cash-flow problem". Jordan, a boyhood Palace fan who has pumped much of his own fortune into the club but appears unable to maintain his largesse, has been trying without success to sell the club for more than a year.

So short are the club, Warnock does not have enough players to fill the bench at Hillsborough this afternoon. This is partly because six players are loaned out, including striker Stern John who yesterday extended his loan at Ipswich.

Any cash flow problem is likely to be exacerbated by a shortage of home games this month. Palace are away in the FA Cup today and do not play at Selhurst Park until Bristol City visit next Saturday [9 January]. Barring a home fourth round FA Cup draw, that is their only home match until 30 January.

Entering administration would incur a 10-point deficit. Despite the difficult circumstances, Warnock has steered the club to within a win of the play-offs but the deduction would leave them three points clear of the relegation zone.