Hayden On Defeat

Hayden Mullins admits it was a disappointing return to his old club Crystal Palace on Monday - but reckons there was a bit of "gamesmanship" from the Eagles.

"It was backs against the wall with the sending off, but the lads knew what was required from the first whistle and even after the red card that Connors got it was disappointing that they got a goal from a set piece.

"Credit to them, they were up for it but so were we - I think we did really well until the goal and even after the goal I think we battled on well; but with 10 men it is always hard, especially for that length of time."

Of David's sending off for a second yellow card, he says:

"I didn't see the incident, to be honest, but from what he is saying he didn't really touch the guy - and there didn't look too much wrong with him.

"There were a couple of times when they have gone down easily and we haven't really touched them so it is a bit disappointing in that way - but you have to keep going.

"It looks like the ref was giving a hell of a lot to them and every time we got near them they went down - maybe it was a bit of gamesmanship on their part."

As for the row that continued towards the tunnel at the end of the first half when Iain Dowie came onto the pitch and confronted Marlon Harewood, Hayden adds:

"I think we were having a word with the ref and they got involved; there is no need for it, really, but it was just handbags."

There was also a melee in the second half which saw Bobby Zamora booked and Hayden adds:

"I think they said Bobby has elbowed him, but the guy jumped to his feet after Bobby was booked - so he can't have been hit that hard."

He feels there was too much play-acting from the Palace players and adds:

"That is what I am talking about; the ref should have been looking at that side of the game rather than listening to the crowd and jumping on Bobby's back."

Despite his disappointment upon his first return to Selhurst Park since leaving Palace, he bears his former team mates no ill-will. They find themselves in with a chance of the playoffs themselves, and he says:

"They deserve it, to be honest; they have worked their socks off and it is for us to get back up there ourselves."

Hayden was employed in midfield on Monday rather than defence, and he admits:

"I was happy to be back in midfield where I thought I'd be playing when I first came here.

"But wherever he wants to play me, I am not too fussed."

Hayden knows that beating Coventry at Upton Park is essential this weekend - but knows it could be a tough task after the stalemate against Derby at home last weekend.

"We just couldn't unlock them; they came and defended like a lot of teams have at Upton Park," he reflects.

As for the overall position, he concludes:

"We have to pick things up and try and make these playoff places.

"I think we need to probably win all of our remaining games to secure promotion - which I think will be possible."