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In opposition: Crystal Palace v Brighton and Hove Albion

28 November 2012

Bragging rights are on the line at Selhurst Park this weekend as npower Championship rivals Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion go head-to-head.

With both sides eyeing promotion to the Premier League this term, the match promises to be a real cracker. Here, we preview the encounter with the help of a fan from each club.



Name: Mike Rice.

Club: Crystal Palace.

Number of years as a supporter: 30.

Favourite moment as a fan: That's a tough one. It's either the 1989 Play-Off Final against Blackburn Rovers, when Palace came back from 3-1 down in the first leg to beat them 3-0 at home for promotion to the then First Division. Or beating Liverpool 4-3 in the FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park in 1990.

How many games a season do you attend? About eight to 10 home games and the odd away match.

Where do you sit? In the Main Stand.


Name: Tom Wiggins.

Club: Brighton and Hove Albion.

Number of years as a supporter: About 13.

Favourite moment as a fan: Promotion to the npower Championship in 2004 or moving to the Amex Stadium at the start of last season - it's been a real catalyst for the club.

How many games a season do you attend? Not as many as I'd like to, but normally about 10-15. We have the enviable 'problem' of selling out a lot of games.

Where do you sit? West Stand lower.


What happened in your last match?

MR: Well, on Saturday, Palace were looking to extend their unbeaten run to 15 matches, against Leeds United. But, despite enjoying most of the possession and a number of clear chances, they failed to capitalise and lost 2-1. Hopefully Tuesday night's 0-0 away draw at Hull City will be the start of another push towards promotion.

TW: We beat Bristol City 2-0 at home, which I think is important for morale after only taking a point against Bolton Wanderers last Saturday, despite dominating the game.

Why is this game important?

MR: Quite simply, because it is against Brighton. This is the biggest game in any Palace fans' calendar.

TW: Every game against Palace is important, but with them flying high this one is particularly big. I think a win at Selhurst Park would state our intentions for the season and really instil some belief in the team and the fans.

How do you see this game going?

MR: Brighton are on a bit of a run now, but when Selhurst Park is full there is nowhere else like it, so I think it will end up in three points for the Eagles.

TW: Confidence should be high but we'll be wary of Wilfried Zaha and Glenn Murray (who left Brighton for Palace in 2011 and has scored 15 goals this season). We sometimes struggle to score but if we can get the midfield involved like they did on Tuesday night and not lose concentration towards the end of the game, I think we'll be okay.

Who should we keep our eye on?

Zaha - 'he's just too good for you, he's just too good for you' - without a doubt the best player I have seen in a Palace shirt in my 30 years supporting the club.MR:

We like to think Will Buckley deserves as much attention as Zaha has been getting lately - and he's looked particularly dangerous recently. He worries opposition defenders and our two goals against Bristol City came from fouls on him. Having Wayne Bridge back from injury will be a big boost, too.TW:

Any memories of previous encounters?

There are just too many to mention, but our recent spicy encounter will still leave a bitter taste in the Seagulls' mouths! We beat them 3-1 at the Amex Stadium.MR:

Loads - but being 1-0 up until the 80th minute and eventually losing 3-1 at home last season is one I'd rather forget.TW:

Score prediction?

MR: 3-1 to Palace, ex-Brighton hero Glen Murray to bag a hat-trick.

TW: Palace 1-2 Brighton.

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