Pards On Palace

AFTER a tough work-out in Munich on Wednesday, Alan Pardew takes his Premiership bound squad to Crystal Palace on Saturday to take on the Eagles for the first time since the 2004 Play-off Final.

The Hammers boss is expecting a competitive contest at Selhurst Park and is hoping for another strenuous examination of his squad's credentials from relegated Palace.

"I'm expecting Saturday's game at Palace to be very different to the one against 1860 Munich," said Pards. "There certainly won't be as much possession at Palace, because they'll really push the tempo up and close us down quickly.

"Palace won't let us relax as much on the ball, but they also perhaps won't try and play as much as 1860 Munich did and expect the pace of the game to be probably the quickest we have faced in this pre-season so far.

"It'll be a completely different type of game, but certainly one that will be very important in terms of our preparation and it will be a severe test of the squad's fitness levels.

"Palace are only a week away from the start of their season, so I expect them to be right on their game in terms of physical levels.

"We're still two weeks away and that can make quite a difference, so I expect to be put through the mill a bit at Selhurst Park. It'll be a tough game for us, but that's what we're looking for and I'm confident that the squad will respond to the challenge in the right way."

Hammers completed the signing of Shaka Hislop who could travel to Palace with the squad, and Pards is still hopeful of making another addition to his playing staff before the start of the season.

"The squad is looking really strong," he said. "I'm pleased with the work we've done so far in pre-season and the squad is shaping up well in terms of the players that have come in.

"I would still like to strengthen before the start of the season with perhaps one more addition, but at the moment there is a tremendous spirit throughout the team and we're all excited about the start of the season."

Tickets for this match are now no longer available to buy from West Ham United, but will be available to purchase from the Arthur Wait Stand turnstiles at Selhurst Park tomorrow priced £15 for adults and £5 for seniors/under-16s.