Crystal Palace 1 Stoke City 1: Neil Warnock confident of staying safe but wants to buy

Peter Crouch's equaliser left Crystal Palace frustrated after James McArthur's opener

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The Independent Football

Neil Warnock remains convinced Crystal Palace will not be dragged into a relegation dogfight despite a run of just one win in 10 games.

The Palace manager admitted in the wake of Saturday’s dismal  1-1 draw with Stoke City at Selhurst Park that “we could and should have won” the last five games.

Palace’s only victory since September was the 3-1 triumph over Liverpool, but since then they have drawn with Swansea, Tottenham and Stoke, and lost at home to Aston Villa.

The Eagles now sit just one point off the relegation zone, but Warnock is unfazed by his side’s recent missed opportunities. “I still think we’ve got enough to be OK,” he said. “I don’t think you can write us off against anybody.”

Warnock is not planning to rip up his starting XI either: “At the moment, the lads who are in the team have got the shirts. It’s the others who have got to knock my door down and say, ‘Well I should be back in the team.’ And that’s not happening.

 

Striker Dwight Gayle’s almost invisible appearance in the second half against Stoke  did not do him any favours. “I was disappointed when he came on if I’m honest, and he hasn’t pushed himself into pole position in training,” said Warnock. “In training he’s not knocked my door down. It was the same with Wilfried [Zaha] earlier on in the season. He’s got to show me what he can do in training.”

Warnock has made no secret of his intention to strengthen the squad next month. “Everybody knows we’d like two or three players in January. It’d be nice to have more of a physical presence to come on today, against a team like that, when it’s like a war of attrition. We have definite targets, in three or four different areas. It’s just getting them over the line really.

 

“We have to bring in players who are better than what we have. Otherwise it’s pointless. We might as well go with what we’ve got. We need two or three players that can come in to the first team and give us more choice on the bench.

“It’s not an easy time to buy in January,” Warnock admitted. “But we did well last January with the players, and I’m optimistic we can get the right ones in in January, and at the beginning of the transfer window, not right at the end.”

Marouane Chamakh led Palace’s forward line against Stoke, linking play well but never offering a credible goal threat. The Morocco striker picked up a thigh problem that could sideline him for several weeks, meaning a striker may well be top of Warnock’s January shopping list.

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