Crystal Palace return to Premier League action on Saturday at home to rock-bottom club Huddersfield Town.
Following consecutive defeats, at home to fierce rivals Brighton in the league and then away at Watford in the FA Cup, pressure has started to mount on boss Roy Hodgson.
With dreams of silverware put aside for another year, the Eagles are yet to secure safety, and are only five points clear of the relegation zone with eight games still to play.
This weekend’s clash at Selhurst Park could prove to be a make-or-break game for the former England manager. The Terriers are all but down, 16 points adrift at the foot of the table and with one win in their last 18 league outings. But could this work to Palace’s detriment?
Recent performances have demonstrated some fight and will in the Terriers’ tank, following Jan Siewert’s appointment in late January. In their last outing, they fell to an unfortunate injury-time 4-3 defeat at West Ham after leading for the majority of the match. Two-and-a-half weeks earlier, they beat FA Cup semi-finalists Wolves with a late winner of their own, demonstrating some promise.
They haven’t quite given up, then, and they’re perhaps not as bad as their league position suggests. Add to that the fact really they have little to lose, as opposed to Hodgson and Palace who will be feeling the heat by the time kick-off comes around.
The main problem that Palace will have to deal with is likely to be Karlan Grant. The 21-year-old has quickly emerged as a new favourite at the John Smith’s Stadium since his January move from Charlton Athletic and he has enjoyed his transition from League One to the Premier League.
Grant has three goals in six league appearances for Huddersfield and netted twice in that heart-breaking defeat to the Hammers, making him the Yorkshire side’s joint top-scorer this season.
The former England under-19 international will be keen to add to his tally at Selhurst Park, and with the Eagles not having kept a clean sheet in the league since the start of February, Grant will be confident of continuing his rich vein of form.