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Last Updated: Friday, 22 December 2006, 06:35 GMT
Taylor targets festive pick-me-up
By Charlie Henderson

Crystal Palace manager Peter Taylor
I'm not fearful of going down - the team is too good to go down

Peter Taylor
Peter Taylor remains confident Crystal Palace can reach the play-offs despite their lowly Championship position.

The Eagles are 18th in the table but boss Taylor is looking up and not down.

"The next four matches are very, very important. We have got to have a decent Christmas to give ourselves any chance of the play-offs," he told BBC Sport.

"If we're not successful there is a fair chance we're not going to do the play-offs, but if we do do well that will give everybody confidence."

Palace were in the play-off positions at the start of October before a woeful string of form saw them pick up just two points from a possible 24 and tumble down the table.

A run of four matches unbeaten suggested a corner had been turned, but then the wheels came off again with back-to-back defeats to Colchester and Derby.

"Against Colchester we started really well, should have scored and didn't so got punished for not finishing them off," Taylor reflects.

"While at Derby we didn't start at all well, we allowed them to relax and play their football but in the second half we were excellent.

"One of these days if we can put 90 minutes into it and take advantage of the openings we create we're going to beat somebody."

And for Taylor that day has to be Friday when their Christmas campaign begins early with the visit of in-form Sunderland.

A run will give everybody confidence, (chairman) Simon Jordan included, to say let's go and get a couple of fresh names in

Peter Taylor

That match heralds the start of a tough four fixtures that sees Palace travel to promotion-chasing Cardiff and Southampton before entertaining Norwich on New Year's Day.

"It doesn't matter who you're playing, it is all about how you perform," Taylor said.

"If you do not perform up to the standards of the division there's a fair chance you're going to get beat.

"People would have said we would beat Colchester at home and that shows how incredibly tight the division is.

"Our position at the minute means we're in the relegation dogfight but I'm not fearful of going down, the team is too good to go down and I've no doubt we'll pull away.

"It's just about how much we believe we can get close to the play-offs."

As well as determining the success or otherwise of their season, Taylor suggests the results over the next 11 days and 360 minutes of football will decide if any new faces arrive at Selhurst Park in January.

He wants more pace in the squad, but knows chairman Simon Jordan will not sign any transfer window cheques unless he sees good reason to.

"A run will give everybody confidence, Simon included, to say let's go and get a couple of fresh names in to give us a push in the second half of the season," he added.

"And Simon has to see something there to suggest we can have a good second half of the season.

"It's not ideal and at times people bring in players for the sake of it just to have a fresh name. They have to be really needed to bring them in at this time."

Derby 1-0 Crystal Palace
16 Dec 06 |  Championship
Crystal Palace 1-3 Colchester
09 Dec 06 |  Championship


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