Popovic Aiming To Help Palace Back Into Premiershi
While his Qantas Socceroo teammates will be playing in Adelaide to try and get Australia through the next phase of the World Cup qualifiers, defender Tony Popovic will be playing probably the most important match in his club career.
While his Qantas Socceroo teammates will be playing in Adelaide to try and get Australia through the next phase of the World Cup qualifiers, defender Tony Popovic will be playing probably the most important match in his club career. Popovic (pictured right) will line up for Crystal Palace on Saturday night against West Ham for the third and final promotion place to next season-s Premier League. Palace was last in the Premier League in 1997-98 and since then have struggled in the 1st Division and been through financial problems and in the hands of administrators. This season has seen Palace re-emerge as a force in the 1st Division and they went into the play-offs as the form team. After eclipsing Sunderland in the play-off final after a tense penalty shootout win, Palace is just one game away from returning to the top-flight. West Ham pose a significant challenge in the play-off final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, but Palace can go into the game knowing they won the last clash between the two just a little over a month ago. Popovic has been a constant figure at the heart of the Palace defence for the past three seasons. He is off contract at the end of the season and promotion to the Premier League, could well see him earn an extension on his Palace contract. Meanwhile the following day, Luke Wilkshire and Paul Reid will go head to head in the 2nd Division Play-off final also at the Millennium Stadium. Wilkshire, is likely to start on the Bristol City bench, while Reid has been a starter throughout the latter part of Brighton & Hove Albion-s season. The winner will win promotion to the 1st Division. Bristol holds the advantage with one victory over Brighton, although the last time the two sides met, it finished in a 0-0 draw.