​Crystal Palace host Middlesbrough on Saturday afternoon in a match that will have great significance in the fight for survival. 


The Eagles have only won a single league match under new manager Sam Allardyce and though they were one of the Premier League's busiest clubs in the January transfer window, they have yet to threaten a revival. Sat second from bottom before kick-off, the hosts will know that they cannot afford to make too many more mistakes as the games tick by and they continue to slip further away from safety.

Stoke City v Crystal Palace - Premier League

The visitors meanwhile are also in need of a positive result as they themselves stand just two points above the drop zone. Aitor Karanka's men have struggled to find the net for much of the season having only scored 19 goals in 25 league games, and though they have been a difficult side to beat this season, they would love to claim all three points on Saturday to widen the gap between themselves and the relegation zone.


History


Middlesbrough last visited Selhurst Park for a Premier League fixture back in 2005 and though the two teams have met on numerous occasions since then, there has been very little to separate the two sides. 

Crystal Palace v Middlesbrough - npower Championship

Both have enjoyed narrow victories at various points, although Boro won't have many fond memories from their last trip to Selhurst Park as they were beaten 4-1 by an Eagles side that would win promotion back to the Premier League in the 2012/2013 season. 


Key Battles


Wayne Hennessey vs Alvaro Negredo

Middlesbrough v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League

Scoring has not been Middlesbrough's forte this season so they will need Alvaro Negredo to put his own indifferent form to one side if they are to find the goals that will help them win the match.


Despite their recent struggles in front of goal the visitors will be confident of finding the net against a leaky Palace defence, so Eagles' keeper Wayne Hennessey could well be called upon numerous times to keep Boro's main striker at bay. 


Wilfried Zaha vs Middlesbrough full-backs

Crystal Palace v Sunderland - Premier League

Despite their precarious position, the visitors actually have one of the best defensive records in the league so the onus will be on Palace to break them down. 


Zaha is likely to be key to that by using the width on offer and the winger may be handed a boost before kick-off, as Boro are potentially facing an injury crisis in the two full-back positions, meaning they are unlikely to be at full-strength. 


Team News


The home side could be without captain Scott Dann who has struggled to shake off a hamstring problem. Bakary Sako is also a major doubt, whilst both Loic Remy and Mathieu Flamini are certain to miss out having picked up knocks over the last week. 


Whilst the injury problems are mounting up for Allardyce, he is at least expected to welcome back new signing Jeffrey Schlupp who is fit again after a hamstring strain. 

FBL-ENG-PR-CRYSTAL PALACE-EVERTON

Middlesbrough meanwhile face an anxious wait to see if several key defenders will be fit for the match. Calum Chambers and George Friend have missed training this week due to injury, so both will need to pass late fitness tests to be in contention. 


Antonio Barragan and James Husband are definite absentees for the Teesiders, who will be facing a crisis at the back if neither Chambers or Friend are passed fit. 

Crystal Palace v Everton - Premier League

Possible Crystal Palace lineup: Hennessey; Ward, Sakho, Delaney, van Aanholt; Milijovecic, McArthur; Townsend, Puncheon, Zaha; Benteke


Possible Middlesbrough lineup: Valdes; Chambers, Espinosa, Gibson, Fabio; De Roon, Clayton, Forshaw; Traore, Negredo, Stuani


Prediction


Both of these teams have struggled for goals in recent times and whilst they have contrasting defensive records, this is unlikely to be a game filled with goals. 

FBL-ENG-PR-MIDDLESBROUGH-HULL

Palace simply cannot afford to lose yet more ground in the fight for survival and though they will be keen to pick up three points, Middlesbrough have been a tough side to beat this season and seeing as they are the league's draw-specialists, this one has stalemate written all over it. 


Crystal Palace 1-1 Middlesbrough