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Can Crystal Palace’s new man prove he can make the grade?

Crystal Palace’s 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge last weekend was a fantastic result, however it has only made it harder for young forward Patrick Bamford to force his way into the first team picture.

Bamford had a chance in the Capital One Cup against Shrewsbury Town last Tuesday, and failed to take it as the former Middlesbrough loanee turned in a disappointing performance.

The Chelsea loanee struggled on the night and was consequently replaced by Glenn Murray, who came off the bench to score a couple of goals in Palace’s 4-1 win in extra-time.

So far he has remained as an unused sub in Palace’s wins against Norwich and Aston Villa, and made just a brief ten minute cameo against Arsenal in the Premier League.

The league cup game presented an opportunity for Bamford as he partnered Dwight Gayle in attack and was positioned as the deeper of the two on the night. It’s not a natural position for the forward, but an opportunity nonetheless.

However, Bamford struggled to find any space against a combative League 1 side and after the game Eagles boss Alan Pardew admitted himself that Gayle was far from the perfect foil for Bamford, who was subbed off after 74 minutes.

Pardew said: “I don’t think he had his best night, Patrick, but he’s a good player.

“He’s finding that the level is a little bit higher here than it was at Middlesbrough and when you’re not playing week in week out as he was at Middlesbrough it’s hard.

“I felt a little bit sorry for him tonight because he wasn’t at his best, but he’s a good player.”

In truth, the evening was not without its difficulties for Pardew’s Palace, as well as Bamford, whose poor challenge on Ryan Woods led to the sweeping move that made the opener that Matt Tootle drilled home for the visitors.

And at the other end of the pitch, Bamford’s aerial credentials where given a working over against the considerable frame of Jermaine Grandison, on a fair few occasions Bamford was out muscled by the defender. But there were some promising moments in between, not least his role in Palace’s leveller.

His one two with Wilfried Zaha was the catalyst for Palace’s penalty that was won by Zaha, which Gayle duly converted. That was a glimpse of what Bamford can offer, that Teddy Sheringham-esque style to see the bigger picture around him.

But last season’s Championship player of the year will ultimately be judged by the goals he scores, and he will be keen to build on his impressive record of 43 goals in 79 league starts, and this is the area Bamford needs to showcase his obvious talents.

Bamford has a big task ahead of him if he wants to force his way in to Palace’s first team, but as he says, now he has the belief, he just needs to take his chance when he gets it.

Article title: Can Crystal Palace’s new man prove he can make the grade?

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