Preview: Crystal Palace v Middlesbrough

Crystal Palace coach Sam Sam Allardyce and Middlesbrough counterpart Aitor Karanka both believe that Saturday's Premier League clash at Selhurst Park could have a massive say in the battle to avoid relegation.

Palace are mired in 19th position and have won just once in their last five matches, while Boro are in 16th spot and last won in the league in the middle of December.

As such, Allardyce takes the view that winning is essential. He said, "I've not managed to sort this club out as quick as I have the others, that's the frustration for me. We must start getting results at home. The big downside of the last 14 months is the home form. We need to get some wins, starting with Boro."

Meanwhile, Karanka also admitted the significance of the encounter, "I don't want to put pressure on the players. I can't be here every day telling them how important, how massive this game is because they know. Everybody knows."

In team news, Palace duo Scott Dann and Bakary Sako are expected to remain sidelined by hamstring strains. Steve Mandanda is back in full training after a long-term knee injury but is unlikely to feature.

For the visitors, Calum Chambers and George Friend are in doubt because of a stress fracture and calf injury respectively. Antonio Barragan is also out with a hamstring injury. 

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