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Saturday 23 August Updated Wednesday 18 February

Downing wary of wounded Palace

Crystal Palace might be going into Saturday's game against the Hammers without a permanent manager, but winger Stewart Downing remains wary of their threat.

He is not convinced that the uncertainty surrounding their next long-term boss will destablise them for the Selhurst Park game and knows full well how tough a test awaits.

Palace beat the Hammers twice by a 1-0 scoreline last term and the 30-year-old does not want a repeat.

He said: "Does the situation at Palace make them stronger or a bit vulnerable? You don't really know until you step out there, but what I will say is that Crystal Palace is a difficult place to play at, no matter is in charge.

"They are well drilled and Tony Pulis' staff are still there, so you can imagine the way they will set up and play.

"It was difficult for us there last year, and this time we're going to have to start well and getting the first goal would be a big help."

West Ham may be looking for their first points of the season when they travel to south London, but Downing says they can take heart from last weekend's performance against Tottenham Hotspur.

He added: "We can take a lot of positives from last weekend's game - the only negative was their goal at the end as apart from that we defended really well, limited them to half chances and played some really good football ourselves.

"We can take the positives into Crystal Palace and if we keep doing that we can do really well in the league."

New attacking coach Teddy Sheringham has had pre-season to settle in to his new role now and Downing has welcomed his input.

"It's always good to have fresh faces in and different ideas," the No11 explained. "I think that's why the manager has brought him in, to freshen up a bit.

"The sessions we've had with him have been really good, they're game realistic and match paced. He's enthusiastic and the lads have enjoyed him being around the place.

"He was a great player and having someone of his presence around lifts players."

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