Preview: Crystal Palace vs. Burnley

Manager Neil Warnock of Crystal Palace turns to celebrate with his coaching staff after Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace scored their third goal and equaliser in stoppage time during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Crystal Pa
© Getty Images
Sports Mole previews Saturday's clash between the Premier League's bottom two, Crystal Palace and Burnley, as the relegation favourites meet at Selhurst Park.

The two favourites for Premier League relegation meet on Saturday when Crystal Palace host Burnley, with both sides already in ominous positions in the table.

The Clarets have been backed by bookmakers for an immediate return to the Championship, while Palace's odds for the drop plummeted following the departure of Tony Pulis on the eve of the season.

Neil Warnock collected a point from a trip to Newcastle United in his first game back in charge of the Eagles, and returns to Selhurst Park this weekend for the first time since leaving the club in 2010.

Another returning favourite, Wilfried Zaha, came off the bench to snatch the Londoners a stoppage-time 3-3 draw on Tyneside, and the Manchester United loanee should be promoted to the starting XI.

Burnley too got off the mark for the season a fortnight ago as they held winless Manchester United to a goalless draw. Sean Dyche and company may be thankful that fixture did not fall a week later.

Finding the net could be a problem for the Lancashire outfit, who have gone 340 minutes without scoring in all competitions. Sam Vokes is still sidelined and last season's leading marksman Danny Ings is yet to open his Premier League account from three games.

Dyche may be hoping that the £2.5m club-record addition of George Boyd on transfer deadline day will provide his side with a greater goal threat, and the creativity from which Ings can start firing again.

The former Hull City attacker should make his Clarets bow in the capital, but Burnley's success has been built upon stability and therefore Dyche is unlikely to panic into making many more changes.

Boyd's fellow new arrivals, Nathaniel Chalobah and Michael Keane, who have joined on loan from Chelsea and United respectively, may have to be content with being named among the substitutes.

Ben Mee could get another chance to prove that he can make the step up to the top flight at left-back, leaving his more experienced teammates Stephen Ward and Stephen Reid waiting for full debuts.

The free capture of Brede Hangeland seemed to be a coup for Palace in the summer, but Warnock restored Adrian Mariappa to the centre of his defence at the expense of the Norwegian at St James' Park.

Mariappa may again get the nod alongside Scott Dann in a defence which could be better balanced by new boy Zeki Fryers at left-back, and better protected by £7m midfield debutant James McArthur.

Joel Ward has been deputising at full-back and in midfield so far this term, and the versatile 24-year-old could be ruthlessly dropped if Warnock decides to accommodate two of his deadline-day signings.

The well-travelled manager also has Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee Kevin Doyle in reserve, and the Irishman will probably be named on the bench, with Zaha playing a supporting role to Dwight Gayle. Marouane Chamakh and Joe Ledley are both injured for the hosts.

Recent form

Palace: DWLL

Burnley: DLLL

Possible starting lineups

Palace: Speroni; Kelly, Dann, Mariappa, Fryers; Bolasie, Jedinak, McArthur, Puncheon; Zaha, Gayle

Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Mee; Arfield, Jones, Marney, Taylor; Boyd, Ings

Sports Mole says: 2-2

Who will win Saturday's match between Crystal Palace and Burnley at Selhurst Park?

Crystal Palace
Burnley
Draw
Crystal Palace
78.3%
Burnley
11.6%
Draw
10.1%
Burnley boss Sean Dyche, photographed on August 24, 2013
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