Bannan hopeful of Man City upset

Crystal Palace midfielder Barry Bannan has set his sights on upsetting Manchester City after proving his point to former club Aston Villa.

Barry Bannan of Crystal Palace

Bannan returned to Villa Park on Boxing Day for the first time since being sold in the summer by the club he served for nine years, and came out on the winning side.

A spectacular injury-time strike from Dwight Gayle earned Palace a 1-0 victory to lift them out of the relegation zone ahead of Saturday's trip to the Etihad Stadium.

Bannan played a key role against Villa and almost opened the scoring with a shot that was tipped onto a post by Brad Guzan.

The only sour note for the 24-year-old was being booed by Villa fans, although there was plenty of applause when he was substituted late on.

He said: "It's football, people move on to different places, but hopefully I've shown that I'm good enough to be playing in this league and hopefully they'll be the ones that will be sorry for selling me.

"This club will always be in my heart. I support them now kind of as well so it's a bit sad to see people booing but it happens in football. When I came off at the end there were a few that clapped so it was nice to see they appreciated me."

Palace earned their reward for an extremely disciplined performance with a second away victory of the season.

Repeating the feat at the Etihad appears hugely unlikely given City have won all nine of their home games so far, scoring 37 goals in the process, and sit one point off the top of the table.

Bannan is optimistic, though, saying: "We're looking forward to it.

"These are the games you want to be in the league for - big games, big occasions, and we'll go there with our confidence sky high after this win and hopefully try to get something, and a bit of credit as well.

"I think you treat it as any other game. Obviously you're underdogs, nothing's expected, so you're going out there with a freedom to get something. There's a different pressure which hopefully we'll thrive on and give them a game.

"Anything can happen on any given day in this league and hopefully there'll be a shock when we go there."

It was labelled mission impossible when Tony Pulis took over as manager a month ago but the Welshman has masterminded three wins from six games.

And Bannan insists there is no lack of confidence that the Eagles can avoid the drop.

"We've never doubted it," he said. "With the group of players we've got, and everyone pushing in the right direction, I'm sure we can stay up.

"We've been strong at the back, since the new gaffer's come in we've been brilliant defensively and we showed (against Villa) that we're a threat going forward.

"We must have created five or six good chances and I think against any team, with the players we've got, we can create chances."

Pulis, who has top scorer Marouane Chamakh available after suspension, knows his side are up against it on Saturday but he hopes the good run they have been on will persuade the club's owners to invest in the squad come January.

"It will be very, very difficult for us," said Pulis of the City clash. "They're averaging just under five goals a game at home. You have to just stay focused.

"It gives me an opportunity to talk to the chairman and try to bring one or two players in, which we need. We've done very well over the past month or so but we've got to keep it going.

"The January window in my experience is tough to do business in but we'd hope to bring a few in. We'll have to move a few out as well, but if we do that and bring the right ones in, it will help us.

"It will give us a chance, and right from the start I said to the chairman I would do my best to give us a chance."

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