Belfast Telegraph

Jedinak back for Eagles

Crystal Palace will be bolstered by the return of captain Mile Jedinak for Sunday's Barclays Premier League home match against Liverpool.

The Australia international missed his team's 1-0 defeat at Manchester United last time out through suspension.

Jedinak's availability is a boost for Palace's midfield line with Scotland international James McArthur doubtful with a calf problem.

McArthur, who was injured during the match at Old Trafford prior to the international break, took part in a light training session on Thursday and could feature.

Kevin Doyle has recovered from a groin injury that saw him pull out of Republic of Ireland's international friendly against the United States and the striker will be on the bench on Sunday.

After finishing 11th last season under Tony Pulis, Palace are 17th heading into Sunday's home match.

Palace have lost four of their last five games, including the loss at Old Trafford last time out.

Defensive woes have plagued the club, with Palace possessing the second leakiest defence in the competition with 20 goals given away in 11 games.

Boss Neil Warnock says the players worked hard during the international break to improve.

"We have concentrated on the defence," the 65-year-old said. "You have to get clean sheets to progress in this league and that is what we will try to do in the next few weeks."

Warnock is also hopeful that his team can be more clinical up front.

"We need to create a little bit more," he said. "The teams perhaps have found us a little bit predictable.

"We've had easy opportunities in the past games and we haven't been able to put them away. We have been unlucky but you cannot feel sorry for yourself.

"We have eight games until January and we are looking all around to see if we will improve our squad. But we have a good group. We just need more goals."

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli's hamstring problem, sustained on international duty with Italy, will be assessed ahead of the trip.

With fellow forward Daniel Sturridge ruled out until 2015 with a new thigh injury, manager Brendan Rodgers has suggested summer signing Rickie Lambert will have a greater part to play.

Midfielder Jordan Henderson is expected to be involved after being rested by England against Scotland in midweek as a precaution.

Boss Rodgers, whose side have won just once in their last six matches in all competitions and taken only one point from their last three league matches, may opt for a change in tactics at Selhurst Park.

"You have to find the solutions when you are not winning games," he said. "You have to assess where you can be better and that is something I will always do.

"I am not dogmatic. I have shown in my time here we have played in various systems: possession and fast football, counter-attacking football.

"There are other possibilities for us and we will always explore that.

"That was one of the reasons we brought in the likes of Rickie. He is a talented footballer but he gives you a different option of playing in a different way.

"When he is in the team you have to ensure you get crosses into the box and get service for him, but it is the job of the manager to analyse that and pick what is the best structure in the game to get you a result."

Rodgers also believes a return to Palace would not hold any traumatic memories for them after their late collapse from 3-0 up to draw 3-3 last season, which put the final nail in their title dream.

"For me it wasn't the game that cost us," he said, referring to the home defeat by Chelsea the previous week which took the destiny out of their own hands.

"It is a new season, we have a new motivation to go there and get a result.

"It was a disappointment that night but we are very determined to kick-start our season."

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