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Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Saturday, 2 May 2009 12:43 UK

Palace boss in 'no-win situation'

Neil Warnock
Warnock holds the cards for the three promotion-chasing sides

Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock has admitted that he has divided loyalties ahead of Sunday's crunch match with his old club Sheffield United.

The Blades must win at Selhurst Park to clinch second place and Warnock told BBC Radio Berkshire: "I can't really win either way.

"If we beat them I'll be letting Sheffield United down, if we don't I'll be letting Reading or Birmingham down.

"It's a no-win situation but probably one that I'll relish."

Three teams are vying for the final automatic promotion spot in the Championship; Reading and Birmingham who play each other at the Madejski Stadium and Sheffield United who travel to South London.

Speaking ahead of the final weekend of fixtures, the 60-year-old assured fans of all three clubs that he is targeting nothing less than a Palace victory.

Warnock added: "I think anybody who knows me knows I always want to win a game, it doesn't matter who it's against.

"Yes I might be a Sheffield United fan from a boy, but we (Palace) want to finish the season on a high as a club.

"The problem we've got is that we haven't scored in seven out of the last nine games at home, so we haven't been playing very well, but that doesn't necessarily mean we're going to throw the towel in.

It's unusual for me to help Reading out

Crystal Palace boss Neil Warnock

Palace are currently 14th in the Championship but Warnock points to several credible results against the top sides as evidence that the Eagles are improving.

"When you look at it, we played quite well against Reading and drew, the same with Birmingham and we only lost to a controversial penalty against Wolves.

"We'll just have to be ready for the bombardment that we'll get from Sheffield United on Sunday and do the best we can.

"My teams are quite hardworking, we've been lacking quality up front right from the start of the season, goals have been difficult to come by."

But Warnock warned: "We'll try and make it as difficult as we can for Sheffield United to win."

Assessing the season as a whole, the Eagles boss takes a more diplomatic approach.

"Whoever wins and goes up will deserve it over 46 games, it's not just a matter of our game, it's all the other games throughout the season," he said.

"Birmingham were in the prime seat but all of a sudden Reading have had a bit of a run and are relying on us now."

Warnock joked: "It's unusual for me to be helping Reading out.

"I wouldn't have liked it to happen like this, I was hoping it would all be sorted before the end of the season, but these things happen and we have to get on with it.

Because of my involvement with Sheffield United my lads will hopefully respond in a positive way

Neil Warnock

"Steve (Coppell) knows that whoever we play, my team and myself don't know any other way (than to go for a win)."

Warnock spent eight years at Bramall Lane, guiding the Blades to the Premier League in 2006 finishing second behind champions Reading.

Despite now having moved clubs, Warnock believes his association with South Yorkshire will still be a large factor on Sunday.

Warnock added: "I don't think Reading fans would want anyone else in charge of a team playing Sheffield United this weekend other than myself.

"I think a lot of the other teams who have nothing to play for might have a straight-forward game, but because of my involvement with Sheffield United my lads will hopefully respond in a positive way.

"Whether that will be enough I don't know, but we'll give it a shot."



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